Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Problem with Juror Identity Secrecy


Per BBC News:

The judge in the trial of ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort says he will not release the names of jurors because of fears for their safety. ... Speaking in court while jurors deliberated for a second day, Judge [TS] Ellis said: "I had no idea this case would excite these emotions ... I don't feel right if I release their names .... I've received criticism and threats. I imagine they would, too."

If there are fears for the safety of jurors, jury tampering (beyond the legal version, voir dire), etc., then the proper course is to sequester the jury -- put them up in a hotel with armed security until the case is over.

But here's the US Constitution:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed ...

If we don't know who the jurors are, how can we know where they're from or whether or not we can expect them to be impartial?

The trial is in Virginia, and it's a case on tax evasion and related offenses. Since Ellis won't tell us who's on the jury, for all we know he just let Mueller's people bus in 12 IRS agents from New York, all of whom worked on the case they're now hearing, to fill the openings.

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