Two media organizations have asked the Nevada Supreme Court to make clear that the court overseeing the kidnapping trial of O.J. Simpson acted improperly in keeping juror questionnaires secret until after the trial, and heavily redacting the questionnaires before they were finally released.
The Associated Press and the Las Vegas Review-Journal argued in papers filed Monday that a Clark County district court erred in refusing to release the questionnaires, in which potential jurors are asked detailed questions about their backgrounds to aid in jury selection. The questionnaires reduce the time required for asking such questions in open court.
The trial court also erred, lawyers for the press organizations said, by redacting a wide range of information from the documents when it eventually released them after Simpson and a co-defendant were convicted – information such as where jurors were born and whether they had children, in addition to more commonly-redacted information such as Social Security numbers.
The AP reported that Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass said she withheld the questionnaires out of concern for jury tampering, adding that offshore Web sites were taking bets on the outcome of the trial. But Colby Williams, an attorney for the media groups, told The AP that “each question on the questionnaire could have been asked in open court, and the public and press would have been entitled to listen.”