Florida lawmaker wants to stop jurors from cashing in

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 14, 2011 5:58 PM

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - After a juror in the Casey Anthony trial reportedly demanded thousands of dollars to sit for a news interview, a Florida lawmaker said on Thursday he would seek to ban future jurors from profiting from their civic service.

State Representative Scott Randolph of Orlando said he filed a bill to prohibit jurors from receiving compensation immediately following a trial for information about their jury service.

The bill would impose a 270-day "cooling-off" period during which payments to jurors would be banned. Violating the law would be a third-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, Randolph's office said in a statement.

"Every American must receive a fair trial, without fear that a juror may be influenced by future monetary considerations," said lawyer Mark Nejame, who formerly represented Casey Anthony's parents and is working with Randolph on the bill.

Anthony, 25, was acquitted last week of the June 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, whose skeletal remains were found six months later in woods near the Anthony family home.

The child, who Anthony's defense team said drowned in the family's backyard pool, was not reported missing for a month.

The proposal to limit payments to jurors for information after a trial is the latest in a series of legislation prompted by the Casey Anthony case.

Two days after Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murder, two Florida lawmakers filed Caylee's Law, which would make it a felony for parents to fail to notify authorities within 48 hours of a child under age 12 going missing.

The law would also require a child's death and the location of the corpse be reported within two hours. Lawmakers elsewhere in the country were working on similar versions of Caylee's Law since the not-guilty verdict.

Randolph said he was also preparing to file a bill he called the "Juror Protection Act," which would keep jurors' names secret unless they chose to identify themselves.

A similar proposal was being pushed by the Florida Civil Rights Association, but its version would keep juror names sealed only for a "reasonable cooling-off period."

The civil rights group's version also would make it a crime to contact any juror who has "publicly made clear that they do not wish to be contacted." The group is trying to find a legislative sponsor.

Casey Anthony was convicted of misdemeanor charges of lying to detectives during the investigation into her then-missing daughter's disappearance and sentenced to the maximum four years in jail.

She will be released on Sunday after receiving credit for time served awaiting trial and good behavior.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Johnston)