Senate Passes Legislation To Increase Juror Safety

Phil Boyle

April 17, 2013

The New York State Senate passed legislation to help protect jurors whose safety may be threatened, while also ensuring the integrity of judicial outcomes. The bill (S1513) allows the court to withhold names of jurors when a serious threat to juror safety exists.

“The fear of retribution should not be a factor when decisions are being made in our courts,” Senate Republican Leader Dean G. Skelos said. “With so much personal information available online, this bill is common-sense legislation that can help protect the anonymity of jurors who may face threats to their well-being.”

Federal judges have the discretion to grant jurors anonymity and use this option when deemed appropriate for federal trials. However, current state law only permits New York courts to preclude disclosure of jurors’ residential and business addresses when facing the potential for juror intimidation or harm. This bill would expand existing provisions by allowing the names of jurors to be withheld as a precautionary measure.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.