Orlando Lawmaker Files Casey Anthony-related Bill To Stop Jurors From Getting Paid For Interviews
By Jacqueline Fell
Posted July 14, 2011 10:43 PM
ORLANDO -- A local lawmaker and lawyer want to stop jurors from cashing in after a verdict.
Hours after 12 jurors acquitted Casey Anthony, one hired a publicist and tried to cash in on the verdict.
That outraged a state representative and local attorney so much because they don't want jurors to be influenced by the chance to turn a profit.
Together, State Rep. Scott Randolph and Orlando attorney Mark NeJame are proposing a bill to stop jurors from selling their story for up to nine months after the verdict. It also means no one can approach them to try to buy an interview.
NeJame said money, or the thought of making it, can corrupt people.
"We simply want fair jurors that are not influenced by public opinion and not influenced by money," NeJame said.
But criminal defense attorney Richard Hornsby said it's unconstitutional, as it violates the First Amendment right of free speech.
Randolph said it doesn't.
"This doesn't prevent jurors from speaking to any media outlet. It just says they can't get compensation within 270 days of the dismissal of the jurors," Randolph said.
These types of laws are nothing new. California promptly passed something similar right after the OJ Simpson trial ended and jurors cashed in on book deals.
The law said no money for 90 days.
Hornsby said the law's constitutionality has never been challenged, even though jurors in the Michael Jackson criminal trial broke it.
"Two jurors came out with book deals," Hornsby said. "However, California never prosecuted them or tried to enforce the law against them."
The earliest this proposed bill could become law in Florida is next year, and it won't affect any of the Anthony jurors.
However, the two behind the bill said it will improve our legal system. Hornsby said it isn't necessary.
"If it can be proven a juror got onto a jury for the sole reason of benefiting or profiting from it, you can prosecute them or hold them in contempt for violating their oath," Hornsby said.
The bill calls for stiff penalties.
If a juror did have money on their mind, it would be a third-degree felony to cash in, which is a $10,000 fine or prison time.
It would also mean anyone trying to talk money to a juror could also face those same penalties.