Prospective jurors could keep more personal information private and challenge intrusive questioning by lawyers under a proposed overhaul of the way jurors are selected and serve, reports the Associated Press. The plan from a panel of the American Bar Association is intended to improve jury participation and service. It urges states to keep jury selection open but guard against the release of information such as jurors’ addresses and family history. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, honorary head of the American Jury Project, planned to release the proposal today.
The report comes come amid increased media and public scrutiny of jurors, particularly in high-profile cases such as the Scott Peterson murder trial. The recommendations also are meant to improve the day-to-day grind of jury service, which many people see as an unnecessary hassle and seek to avoid serving. Courts would be barred from releasing jurors’ addresses and phone numbers unless there is a compelling reason. If photographers are permitted in the courtroom, they would not be allowed to record or transmit images of the jurors’ faces.