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Juror identities now public in Virginia Beach

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  1. Court Access
Judges in Virginia Beach, Va., will no longer automatically seal juror names and will defer to a proposed statewide court…

Judges in Virginia Beach, Va., will no longer automatically seal juror names and will defer to a proposed statewide court rule that permits secrecy only for good cause, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

The Virginia Beach Circuit Court began automatically shielding the names of criminal jurors as an “ounce-of-prevention-type thing” in November 2008, but has ceased the practice in light of “a state advisory committee’s proposed rule, published in October, specifying that sealing jurors’ names should take place ‘only upon a finding of good cause sufficient to warrant departure from the norm of open proceedings,’” the newspaper reports.

The new proposed rule was adopted after protests from several media and open government organizations – including the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, and The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press – over a previous proposal that would have automatically sealed jurors’ identities statewide.