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Posted: March 14, 2016

Second Circuit Affirms Decision to Empanel an Anonymous Jury

On February 24, 2016, the Second Circuit issued a decision in United States v. Prado, 13-2894-CR(L), affirming a decision by the EDNY to empanel an anonymous jury, explaining:

When genuinely called for and when properly used, anonymous juries do not infringe a defendant’s constitutional rights. A district court may order the empaneling of an anonymous jury upon (a) concluding that there is strong reason to believe the jury needs protection, and (b) taking reasonable precautions to minimize any prejudicial effects on the defendant and to ensure that his fundamental rights are protected. . . . .

The district court did not abuse its discretion in empaneling an anonymous and partially sequestered jury. There was substantial evidence of attempted and actual interference with the judicial process by [the defendants’] codefendants, the crimes charged were extremely violent, and [the defendants] were members of a large, well-organized, and violent gang with many members who were not incarcerated.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

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