TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas judges are backing off an effort to shield jurors' names in a compromise with transparency advocates who hope to avoid court secrecy.
The Kansas District Judges Association will still seek to keep jurors' addresses secret under its compromise with the Kansas Press Association, District Judge James Fleetwood and state Rep. Blaine Finch said.
Transparency advocates had warned that the original effort was part of what they see as a growing trend across the U.S. toward anonymous juries. Kansas judges said they want to protect jurors from harassment and stop a "chilling effect" potential jurors' feel when they have to disclose their information for the public record.
States where courts don't have to release jurors' names include California, Indiana and Oklahoma. Lawmakers in Virginia also tried to shield jurors' identities this year, according to Daniel Bevarly, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, but the bill was amended so names and addresses would still be available, while other information could be secret.