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  • Juror Anonymity in Criminal Trials: The Media, The Defendant, and the Juror--Providing the Rights of All Interested Parties

    Getting the mail every day is exciting when one is young, but as people grow older, few good things are in that box. Take, for instance, the jury summons: dreaded by most, sought after by few, and a civic duty to all. No matter what position you take on jury duty, the service involved can be time consuming if you are selected, and probably even if you are not. Jury duty compels citizens to perform their civic responsibility, but it can also infringe upon jurors’ privacy rights, afforded to them by the Constitution. The burdens imposed on jurors are both financial and emotional. Furthermore, the need for a jury to decide another’s fate is amplified by the long court process, “hostile attorneys or [other] court personnel,” and perhaps also by the criminal defendant. Jurors can be required to reveal any type and amount of information, including that which could be detrimental, embarrassing, or damning—information that they would not choose to voluntarily reveal. In recent years, courts and legal scholars have assessed whether juror anonymity is viable, looking at how empaneling anonymous juries invades the constitutional rights of criminal defendants, jurors themselves, and the media, and assessing how to protect juror privacy while not infringing on the rights of other parties involved in litigation matters.