ORLANDO (CBS4) – The Florida judge who presided over the Casey Anthony murder trial ruled Tuesday that the names of the jurors can be released to the public, but no sooner than the end of October.
Judge Belvin Perry of Orlando said in an order that he could find no exemption to Florida’s liberal public records that would allow him to keep the jurors’ names private. But he said he wanted to implement a three-month “cooling off” period before making the names public to ensure the jurors’ safety.
Jurors have been threatened since they issued their verdict earlier this month, acquitting Anthony of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, Perry said.
“Releasing the names of the jurors after such a `cooling off’ period fairly balances the public’s access to information and the jurors’ safety,” Perry said.
Anthony was found guilty of four counts of lying to police but was released from jail 12 days later for time served. A large crowd gathered outside the Orange County Courthouse immediately after the verdict, outraged at the jurors’ decision. Some carried signs that said “Arrest the Jury!” and “Juror 1-12 Guilty of Murder!!!”
Perry noted in his order other examples of hostility toward jurors. A restaurant in the jurors’ home county posted a sign after the verdict saying the jurors were not welcome, and one of the jurors retired two months earlier than planned because her colleagues at work were upset with the verdict, he said.
Even though the trial was held in Orlando, jurors were picked from Pinellas County in the St. Petersburg area because of pretrial publicity.
After the verdict, five media companies, including The Associated Press, asked for the release of the names. One of the attorneys for the media companies Gregg Thomas, said Tuesday evening that no immediate decision had been on how to proceed.
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