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Anonymous JuriesThe American criminal justice system has traditionally made the identities and addresses ofjurors known to the judge the prosecution and the defense That tradition began to erodewith the unprecedented sua sponte trial court decision to use an anonymous jury in the caseof United States v Barnes a highly publicized criminal trial of notorious organized crimefigures in New York City Since Barnes Federal prosecutors in New York have requestedand been granted anonymous juries in a number of similar cases a development which hasgenerated criticism This paper first addresses the issue of whether juror anonymityviolates a defendants sixth amendment right to a jury trial by adversely affecting thedefendants ability to exercise effectively peremptory challenges during voir dire It alsodiscusses the effect an anonymous jury may have on the presumption that a defendant isinnocent until proven guilty Also considered are attempts by trial judges throughparticular jury instructions to minimize or eliminate prejudice to defendants resultingfrom the use of an anonymous jury And finally the paper examines the need for anonymousjuries and concludes that in certain cases jurors may either fear retaliation or actually beexposed to intimidation unless the court employs measures to conceal their identities Introduction Juror anonymity is an innovation that was unknown to the common law and to Americanjurisprudence in its first two centuries Anonymity was first employed in federalprosecutions of organized crime in New York in the 1980s Although anonymous juries areunusual since they are typically only empanelled in organized-crime cases its use hasspread more recently to widely publicized cases such as the federal prosecution of policeofficers accused of beating Rodney King and the trial of those accused of the World TradeCenter bombing In these cases attorneys selected a jury from a panel of prospective jurors whose namesaddresses ethnic backgrounds and religous affiliations remain unknown to either side Thisunusual procedure designed to protect jurors from outside influence and the fear ofretaliation has occasionally been used in
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