The Arizona Supreme Court states that an anonymous jury is constitutional


Phoenix (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the state court could keep the jury’s identity secret, and the right to monitor the trial was to the jury’s name, which determines the fate of the people. Dismissed an objection from a journalist in southern Arizona who claimed to include access. He was charged with a crime.

A unanimous judgment written by Deputy Judge Ann Scott Timmer is a lawyer against the issuer of the Kochise County Record that refraining from identities during the jury trial process violates Article 1 of the Constitutional Amendment. I dismissed the claim.

This decision continues ongoing work in several American courts to allow the identity of traditionally nominated juries to be kept secret. A media group who submitted a friend in the court’s summary said that keeping the jury’s identity on a daily basis would undermine the media’s ability to act as its watchdog.

However, Timmer wrote that the First Amendment implicitly guarantees the right of the general public and the press to view criminal trials, but does not cover all “confidential” information.

To consider whether that right accompanies media access to individual jury names, a review of whether they were historically available is needed and “public access is the specific process in question. Whether it plays an important positive role in the functioning of the. “

Timmer concludes that while the jury’s names are publicly available nationwide, providing them does not create a fairer process and may even undermine the jury’s integrity.

“Accessing the jury’s name greatly enhances the public’s ability to ensure that preliminary interrogations are conducted fairly and to check courts ignoring established criteria for jury selection. It won’t increase to, “writes Timmer.

The Press Committee for Freedom of the Press has requested the High Court to request that the jury’s name be available.

The Commission’s filings state: “If the public cannot determine who will exercise the jury, an open and transparent court system that prevents false accusations, ensures that the proceedings are fair and discourages prejudiced decisions. The benefits of this are diminished. “

A lawyer at the Attorney General of Arizona’s office argued that revealing the names of the jury did not help in the selection process, and disclosing them would put the jury at risk of danger and embarrassment.

The Supreme Court proceedings were filed by David Morgan, who runs Cochise County Record, a website focused on official documents from local police and courts. He and a second journalist appealed after the judge sealed the jury in two cases without explaining the name of the jury, but only Morgan pursued the case to the Supreme Court of Arizona.

Morgan said he expected losses after being asked by seven judges during the April debate. However, he said the court did not state that the jury’s name could never be published, and that the jury himself could identify himself.

“This was focused on voir dire,” Morgan said. “This wasn’t something to say forever.”

Mr. Timmer said the judge had the discretion to publish the jury’s name, and if the court denied access, “best practice is to explain why in the record.”

Cochise County courts use a secret jury in all criminal trials. Arizona law does not publish a list of jury names or other jury information unless specifically required by law or ordered by a court.

Judge Clint Bolick said the Arizona Constitution’s privacy clause provides “a strong interest in enforcing (the jury’s secret law) to protect the privacy of juries,” a brief agreement. I wrote an opinion.

The names of jury trials throughout the United States were open to the public until the late 1970s. At this time, courts began deploying anonymous juries in certain cases involving drug trafficking organizations and mafia bosses.

Last year, a Minnesota judge said The name of a jury guilty of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd Until he thinks it’s safe to publish their name.