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Jurors Have First Amendment Rights Too

Here is a letter to the Sun-Sentinel:

In the wake of the Casey Anthony verdict and juror No. 6 hiring a publicist, the Sun-Sentinel takes state Rep. Scott Randolph to task over his attempt to silence jurors from selling their stories – and rightfully so (Proposal to silence jurors poorly thought out, July 18).

“Caylee’s Law” certainly represents a legislative overreach, but a legislator selectively applying the First Amendment as he sees fit is quite disturbing.  What makes a juror so special that their free speech rights must be suppressed?  Prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and defendants often write memoirs for profit.  Some, in the case of convicted defendants, are even written from inside prison.

The editorial even points out the “repugnant” example of the Westboro Baptist Church picketing military funerals.  Their antics may nauseate a vast majority of people, but that is exactly why the First Amendment exists – not to protect speech we agree with, but the most abhorrent.

Call it exploitation or opportunism, but juror No. 6’s motives are hardly comparable to the Westboro Baptist Church.  On the other hand, Rep. Randolph’s warped standards of free speech would deprive a large segment of the citizenry their core First Amendment rights.


Craig D. Schlesinger

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