Criminal Procedures

Trial Process

Can a court use an anonymous jury?

Some courts have ruled that anonymous juries are permissible in the appropriate case where juror safety is an issue. These courts reason that protecting jurors from harm is a compelling or very strong governmental interest that justifies the extraordinary use of an anonymous jury. A Minnesota appeals court reasoned in State v. Ferguson (Minn.App. 2007) that an anonymous jury could be used if the following two factors were met: (1) there was strong reason to believe that the jury needs protection and (2) the court takes precautions to minimize any possible prejudice to the defendant that the jurors’ anonymity might present.


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