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Texas appeals court rejects gag order on BP jury

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  1. Court Access
From the Houston Chronicle: A Texas appeals court has overturned a Galveston judge's order preventing jurors who served on the…

From the Houston Chronicle:

A Texas appeals court has overturned a Galveston judge's order preventing jurors who served on the only civil trial to emerge from the March 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery from discussing the case publicly until all the litigation is resolved.

This week, a three-judge panel of the Texas First Court of Appeals ruled as unconstitutional state District Judge Susan Criss' September gag order that allowed jurors to speak only to lawyers involved in the trial.

The Houston Chronicle, later joined by the Galveston County Daily News, appealed Criss' order, saying she had blocked jurors from speaking to reporters or others based on her speculation that their comments might taint future jury pools.

The appeals panel agreed.

"No findings or evidence show that the additional, incremental publicity from juror interviews would cause imminent and irreparable harm to the judicial process," the opinion said.