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The Anonymity of Juries- Abstract The American criminal justice system has traditionally made the identities and addresses of jurors known to the judge the prosecution and the defense That tradition began to erode with the unprecedented sua sponte trial court decision to use an anonymous jury in the case of United States v Barnes a highly publicized criminal trial of notorious organized crime figures in New York City Since Barnes Federal prosecutors in New York have requested and been granted anonymous juries in a number of similar cases a development which has generated criticism This paper first addresses the issue of whether juror anonymity violates a defendants sixth amendment right to a jury trial by adversely affecting the defendants ability to exercise effectively peremptory challenges during voir dire It also discusses the effect an anonymous jury may have on the presumption that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty Also considered are attempts by trial judges through particular jury instructions to minimize or eliminate prejudice to defendants resulting from the use of an anonymous jury And finally the paper examines the need for anonymous juries and concludes that in certain cases jurors may either fear retaliation or actually be exposed 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 American jurisprudence in its first two centuries Anonymity was first employed in federal prosecutions of organized crime in New York in the 1980s Although anonymous juries are unusual since they are typically only empanelled in organized-crime cases its use has spread more recently to widely publicized cases such as the federal prosecution of police officers accused of beating Rodney King and the trial of those
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