In Detroit, guess who’s headed back to trial? Yes, him: Kwame Kilpatrick, the city’s former and now disgraced mayor.
But interestingly, Kilpatrick’s fate will be decided by by anonymous jurors whose identities will only be disclosed to lawyers involved in the high-profile City Hall corruption trial next month.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said Monday the jurors’ names and hometowns will be disclosed privately to the lawyers. But the lawyers are barred from investigating their backgrounds or monitoring their use of social media during the trial, which starts Sept. 6 in federal court.
The judge said the move was warranted because of pretrial publicity that has created an emotionally charged atmosphere and the risk of juror harassment.
Jurors are “entitled to safety, privacy and protection against harassment,” Edmunds said. Monitoring their social media use would “unnecessarily chill the willingness of jurors to serve as participants in our democratic system of justice.”
She said defendants do not have a constitutional right to know a juror’s identity. The judge also said her office will monitor social media use by jurors to see if they discuss the case.
The order was a minor victory for defense attorneys, who argued an anonymous jury suggests defendants are dangerous and hinders their ability to question jurors for prejudice.
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