Just days after Casey Anthony's controversial acquittal, members of the jury aren't resting easy. NBC News reports that angry members of the public have forced at least one juror into hiding. The juror, a 60-year Florida woman identified as "Juror Number 12", has quit her job at a local grocery store and left the Sunshine state altogether, according to news reports. She was so concerned for her safety, she also reportedly retired over the phone, though she only had a few months left.
The woman's husband is worried for her health and told NBC News that before leaving the state, his wife told him, "I'd rather go to jail than sit on a jury like this again."
As a result of public threats and scrutiny, Judge Perry has delayed the release of the juror's names, opting for a longer "cooling off period." He is attempting to balance their safety with the public's interest.
Some states, and at least one federal appellate court (3rd Circuit), have determined that the public and the media have a First Amendment right to know the names of jurors at the end of a trial, according to Findlaw. While names are ordinarily released, access to this information has never been, and will likely never be, absolute.
The high-profile Casey Anthony murder trial has prompted potential legislation to protect jurors. In Florida, Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, said he wants to create a "cooling off" period of 270 days after a juror's dismissal, according to news reports. During that period, members of jury cannot profit from disclosing information about their experience. The bill would make violations a felony punishable by fines of up to $10,000. Another potential bill involves jury privacy, keeping the names of jurors private, unless the juror wants to come forward.
"The purpose of this legislation is to preserve the integrity of the jury process," Randolph said in a statement. "It balances the First Amendment freedom of speech with the sixth amendment guarantee to a fair trial."