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Judge delays releasing names of Casey Anthony jurors until October

By the CNN Wire Staff
Who were the jurors filling these seats in the Casey Anthony murder trial? You'll have to wait until at least late October to learn.
Who were the jurors filling these seats in the Casey Anthony murder trial? You'll have to wait until at least late October to learn.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The judge rules state law requires him to release juror names
  • But he says he will do so only after an appropriate "cooling-off" period
  • Right to privacy, security may outweigh media needs, judge says
  • Casey Anthony was acquitted of the most serious charges

(CNN) -- Although the law requires him to release the names of the Casey Anthony trial jurors, a Florida judge ruled Tuesday he will wait until a "cooling-off" period is completed before doing so.

Citing contemptuous remarks about the jurors and concerns for their well-being, Orange County Superior Court Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. said Tuesday he won't release their names until October 25 or later.

Seventeen jurors sat in on the case, five of them as alternates. Only three have since identified themselves. Perry's order will release the identities of the other 14.

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Casey Anthony was released earlier this month, nearly two weeks after a jury acquitted her on murder and child neglect charges. That verdict brought an abrupt end to a six-week trial that drew intense media hype for its elements of family drama and mystery over what happened to Caylee Anthony, 2.

Anthony juror names sealed until October
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Perry made his ruling after media entities asked him to release the names immediately after the verdict.

In his ruling, Perry cited public anger about the verdict and several signs, including "Juror 1-12 Guilty of Murder!" He also cited a restaurant in the jury's home county saying members were not welcome.

"More importantly," Perry wrote, "it was publicly reported that one juror had been forced to quit work and leave the state because of the threats she had received."

The judge said jury service can be unpleasant and that privacy is necessary. "Simply put, potential jurors will not be candid in their responses during jury selection if they think their statements might be reported."

He went on to say court proceedings are no longer news, but entertainment.

Perry said in some cases the right to privacy and security may outweigh the media's desire to have the names. He called on the Florida Legislature to examine whether "an exemption barring release of jurors' names, albeit limited to specific, rare cases, is in order to protect the safety and well-being of those citizens willing to serve."

The jury was chosen in May following an 11-day selection process at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater, Florida. The jurors came from that county -- and not Orange County, about 110 miles to the northwest, where the alleged crimes occurred -- because authorities hoped to find a jury pool less likely to have been swayed by the intense media coverage surrounding the case.

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