The jury remained anonymous during court proceedings to protect their safety and ability to be impartial. However, Judge Peter Cahill has now declared that all 14 of the jurors’ identities will be made public.
Tiffany Bui reports:
Juror number two. Juror number 19. Juror number 27. No names, only numbers; that’s how the court referred to jurors in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial.
The jury remained anonymous during court proceedings to protect their safety and ability to be impartial. However, six months after Chauvin’s case was decided, Judge Peter Cahill declared that all 14 of the jurors’ identities will be made public.
Roy Futterman, a jury consultant and psychologist, says Cahill was likely waiting to see if there were any known threats against the jurors.
“If the Justice Department or the police department said like we’ve been hearing people are overly interested in finding out about individual jurors, that might have swayed his opinion,” Futterman said. “But I think what he’s saying is ‘I don’t see any of that.’”
In America, juries are not anonymous by default. While people may be nervous about what happens after the names are released, Futterman says transparency is necessary in the legal process.
“You have to weigh that with the other idea that’s very central to us, which is that legal proceedings should be out in the open, and we should know who’s making decisions on a case,” he said. “Particularly about things that hinge on racial justice and police interactions with the community.”
This decision comes after the Media Coalition, a group of local and national news organizations, asked Cahill to release juror’s names and other information, like their completed questionnaires. Three jurors have already revealed their identities to the public.
State prosecutors earlier this year disagreed with the Media Coalition, concerned that jurors would be at risk for harassment. They also said that it could make it harder to seat jurors in the trial of the three other officers involved in George Floyd’s murder.
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