Millions waited for the verdict in the tumultuous Casey Anthony trial, and the release of the juror names in the case is no different.
Chief Judge Belvin Perry ruled on Tuesday that the juror names will remain a secret until October. Perry cited the present public “outrage and distress” over the not guilty verdict, as the reason to withhold the names to protect the jurors.
He said the court has the right “to protect the safety and well-being of jurors by imposing a ‘cooling off’ period before the names are released.”
Casey Anthony was previously charged with the murder of her daughter Caylee Anthony. Caylee’s grandmother Cindy Anthony reported her missing on July 15, 2008. Casey Anthony was charged with murder, to which she pled not guilty.
On July 5, 2011, after weeks of deliberating, the jury found Anthony not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter; a verdict that has ignited a fire of outrage among the public.
Simple disbelief at the verdict soon took a more sinister turn and threats were made against Anthony and the jurors associated with the case.
Signs saying “Juror 1-12 Guilty of Murder!” were erected after the trial. A restaurant in a juror’s home county stated, “Members were not welcome.”
These feelings of animosity are the main factor behind Perry’s ruling. He wrote, “More importantly, it was publicly reported that one juror had been forced to quit work and leave the state because of the threats she had received.”
According to Judge Perry, the court proceedings have become a form of entertainment.
His 12-page ruling instructed that 14 of the 17 jurors’ names be kept secret until October 25, 2011. The remaining three jurors have already voluntarily spoken to the media about the trial.
Perry also appealed to Florida Legislature to consider “barring release of juror’s names, albeit limited to specific, rare cases, is needed in order to protect the safety and well-being of those citizens willing to serve.”