Jury selection day was just around the corner and it seemed as if Judge Belvin Perry was going to pull it off and actually keep everything on schedule as he promised. Now, at the last minute, the media may be responsible for stopping the forward progress of this slow-moving wheel of justice.
Quite some time ago, Perry decided that the trial venue would not be moved but that jurors from another region would be imported into Orlando for the trial. No one had a problem with that–every reporter wanted to be the one to find that secret location but despite their efforts, nothing more than rumour and possibility emerged.
The current brouhaha started when the judge, in the interest of a fair trial, informed the media that they would not be informed of the location of the jury selection until Sunday and would only learn it then if they signed a confidentiality agreement swearing not to divulge the information until after the actual process began. He said that “the Court is apprehensive that the new locale would be inundated with media coverage which would thereby again cause concern with the defendant’s sixth amendment right to obtaining a fair and impartial jury.”I’m sure Perry thought this was the perfect compromise. He could protect the jury pool and allow the media to make preparations to be present to cover the events in the courtroom. But the journalists thought otherwise. A group of media outlets, with the Associated Press leading the charge, appealed the decision before the judge and when we denied their motion, they took it a step further.
A 28-page appeal was filed with the Fifth District Court of Appeal. “News organizations request that this court [the Fifth DCA] find that the trial court departed from the essential requirements of the law in implementing and enforcing the confidentiality agreement,” and it ask the judges to “vacate the trial court’s order with instructions that the press and public be provided immediately with the location of the upcoming jury selection proceedings.”
The three judge panel is reviewing the document and will render a decision. But no one knows if they’ll deliver the word by Friday or if they will stay the start of the proceedings while they consider their ruling.
But are we surprised to see one more complication in the convuluted course this case has taken since the start? I’m not but I am getting impatient. Justice for Caylee is long past due.