Monday, August 4, 2008
In U. S. v. Wecht, the Third Circuit has ruled that the media has a presumptive right to publish the names of prospective and empanelled jurors, absent some special finding that they should be kept anonymous. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had appealed the district judge's order to make the jury anonymous in a high-profile trial. The Court stated that the "experience and logic" test put forward in Press-Enterprise II "establishes the existence of a presumptive First Amendment right of access to obtain the names of both trial jurors and prospective jurors prior to empanelment of the jury." However, the appellate court rejected the media's challenge to the district judge's voir dire procedure, ruling that access to prospective jurors was likely to provide most of the relief the media sought. Here's commentary from Law.com; here's an article on the ruling from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.