COMMENTARY | Judge Belvin Perry declared a cooling off period in the release of the juror’s names in the trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of murdering her 2-year-old little girl, Caylee. Perry delayed the release for three months after the trial ended, making Tuesday, October 25, 2011, the day the names of 12 jurors and three alternates were released by the Pinellas County Clerk of Court.
Perry had been concerned about the jurors well-being because of death threats made against them. People around the nation, and even more so in Florida, have expressed extreme disappoint over the verdict, believing that Anthony is responsible for the death of little Caylee.
Is three months enough of a delay to stop would be avengers from coming after the jurors they believe did not serve justice?
Immediately after the names were released, media began knocking on the doors of the jurors’ homes. Many had drapes closed and doors went unanswered. In some cases, reporters were told the juror did not live there. Perhaps more than one took the time to relocate in order to avoid dealing with all of the publicity and incessant intrusion into their lives.
A 60-year woman, who was known as juror number 12, has now been identified as a married mother of two, and worked for Publix Super Market as a cook. When the trial ended, Mary Fuhr quit her job and fled the state after receiving death threats, and was even afraid of her own co-workers. Fuhr’s husband said he feared for his wife’s health.
One of the alternate jurors, Russ Huekler, did not actually participate in the deliberations, but he went on television declaring his support for the jurors who did. Huekler received hundreds of insulting letters and hate mail, as well as emails and Facebook posts calling him “ignorant” and “scum.” Huekler’s own family even began harassing him, and when he went to have dinner at one of his favorite local restaurants, a sign was posted that read: “Pinellas County jurors NOT welcome!!!”
The jurors spent 43 days, 12 hours a day, on that trial, trying to do their civic duty. They should not have to be haunted for the rest of their lives because of public opinion. Those outside of the jurors’ world during the trial were privy to lots of information that the jurors were not. Would those same people that threaten their lives have been able to do any better? Not likely.
Three months is not enough time for the public to forget, especially those who seem to be bent on a ruthless crusade.