Names of the jurors who found Florida’s Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering her daughter this past summer were disclosed this morning by a court, says the Orlando Sentinel, which promptly named them. Judge Belvin Perry postponed the release of the juror names for three months as a “cooling off” period because of the intense publicity surrounding the case. Perry expressed significant concern over the safety of the jurors, noting that they “returned a verdict which was not viewed in a popular light by a large segment of the public.”
If the past is any guide, media organizations that gave the case so much attention before will likely seek out those jurors now. In his order during the summer, Perry condemned the media, saying the broadcast of the Anthony trial “devolved into cheap, soap opera-like entertainment.” Florida Public records laws, Perry said, have “become simply a tool to sell a story.” He called for an examination of the state’s public records laws to see if they’re too broad. “The Legislature must examine whether an exemption barring release of jurors’ names, albeit limited to specific, rare cases, is needed in order to protect the safety and well-being of those citizens willing to serve,” Perry wrote.