Legal Dictionary

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Anonymous Juries

Anonymous juries are a group of persons selected for a criminal trial to return a verdict, whose names, addresses and other personal identifying information is withheld from the attorneys, the public, and the media. These types of juries are typically used in federal organized crime prosecutions. Anonymous juries are used by the courts in cases where disclosure of the jurors' identities would place them at risk of physical harm or intimidation. The use of anonymous juries is inherently prejudicial to the defense in that it has a tendency to suggest to the prospective jurors that the defendant or defendants are so dangerous that the jurors' names need to be withheld in order to protect them from violence.

Some courts, such as Los Angeles County state courts, use partially anonymous juries. These courts identify the jurors by number throughout the trial. However, jurors names and addresses may be disclosed to the lawyers after the trial, if the judge allows that.