Jurors selected in the retrial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will not be named until the day after the trial is over to protect jurors from the onslaught of reporters who allegedly harassed jurors after the first trial. The judge presiding over the retrial said he is withholding the names of jurors because of the way the jurors in the first trial were treated just hours afterwards, reports a New York Criminal Attorney. Apparently, jurors from the first trial were followed by reporters and others in the media, harassed at home at all hours and were unable to go about their normal routines without media interference. Reporters hungry for juror reactions and their recollections from the trial say they were trying to do their jobs and that most in the media were compassionate to jurors while a few went too far.
In high profile court cases like those in New York and even Long Island, it is not unusual for the names of jurors to be withheld until the trial starts or until after the trial ends. Reporters want to know the names of the jurors sooner rather than later. Some reporters claim it is their duty to keep the public informed by learning more about what jurors were thinking and discussing in the deliberation room during a trial to determine if justice was served. Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell President Obama’s former Senate seat, fraud and other illegal activities. During his first trial, he was only convicted of one charge – lying to the FBI. The other 23 charges were dismissed by the jury, claims a reporter.
During the first trial, the jury deliberated for 14 days. Only one juror held out for a not guilty verdict. In the end, the jury was deadlocked on all by one charge and the trial was considered a mistrial. The second trial is scheduled to start on April 20th, says a NY Criminal Lawyer. Blagojevich is being charged with many of the same crimes he was charged with in the first trial. He continues to claim his innocence.
Withholding the names of jurors is well within the rights of the judge. Even though media outlets are trying to get the judge to release the names immediately after the verdict, the judge seems pretty adamant that this will not happen. Reporters will most likely have to wait until the day after the trial to talk to jurors about the outcome.
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