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Editor:

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is arguably one of the most crucial rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. When do the rights of the free press conflict with the right to privacy of jurors deliberating on a court decision? This is the issue that Arizona Supreme Court case Morgan v. Honorable Dickerson (2022) addresses. David Morgan took issue with the fact that Cochise County uses juries where jurors are not formally named, arguing that juror identities should be public knowledge under the First Amendment. Information that is only required when “.. under law or court order…” under ARS § 21-312(A). The high court of Arizona also states that the First Amendment does not “…explicitly guarantee the press or public access to a criminal trial…”

However, the court ended up ruling against Morgan’s grievances utilizing the two-prong test established under Press-Enter. Co. v. Superior Court (Press-Enterprise II), 478 U.S. 1,8,13 (1986). The two conditions are “experience” and “logic” inquiries. The court found that historically “…revealed juror names during voir dire proceedings…” But the court disagrees with the standard of logic since disclosing the names would not benefit the proceedings and could potentially place the jurors in danger because the public can attend legal proceedings regardless of the names of the jurors being revealed. Exposing jurors does not necessarily make them more honest. A good call on the court, as the practice only compromises the jurors’ privacy.

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