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Limits on anonymous juries
By Barry Tarlow
RICO Report columns.
The Constitution guarantees a
defendant the right to the judgment of his peers. Until recently, it was
assumed that the accused and the public, were entitled to know which of the
defendant’s peers sat in judgment.
High-profile trials, involving either allegedly dangerous members of organized crime, or intense media interest in every aspect of the trial, have led to a phenomenon unknown three decades ago — the anonymous jury. Former Louisiana Governor, United States Congressman, and State Supreme Court Justice Edwin Edwards, who was tried by an anonymous jury for political corruption, described the inconsistency of anonymous juries with the constitutional mandate: “It is contrary to the concept of being tried by your peers in a community where you know the jurors and they know you.” Ashley Gauthier, Secret Justice: Anonymous Juries (on the website of the Reporter’s
Committee for Freedom of the Press, http://www.recfp.org).
The threshold the prosecution must meet to keep from the
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