This matter having come before the Court on a grant of leave to appeal from the Superior Court, Appellate Division's affirmance of interlocutory orders entered by the trial court on July 18, 2001, August 31, 2001, November 14, 2001, and November 16, 2001, which orders, inter alia, prohibited (1) the identification of any juror in any publication, and (2) all media representatives from contacting or attempting to interview any juror pending the entry of a verdict, at which time petitioners would be permitted to apply for a relaxation of the prohibition,
And the Court having reviewed the record, the briefs of the parties, and the oral argument of counsel,
And the Court having concluded that defendant's right to a retrial by a fair and impartial jury mandates that counsel should not receive pretrial insights into the juror deliberations from the first trial and that no less restrictive alternative than barring juror interviews until completion of the trial will achieve that objective, see Press Enterprise Company v. Superior Court of California for County of Riverside, 478 U.S. 1, 14, 106 S.Ct. 2735, _____, 92 L.Ed.2d 1, 13-14 (1986),
And the Court having determined that the interests of justice require it to issue an Order disposition with opinions to follow in due course,
And good cause appearing;
IT IS ORDERED that the orders of the Superior Court, Law Division, are modified and affirmed, as follows:
1. Paragraph 13 of the order of July 18, 2001, is vacated to the extent that it restrains the use of juror identification information that is part of the public record of these proceedings; and
2. Paragraph 15 of the order of July 18, 2001, as modified by the trial court in the order of August 31, 2001, is further modified to extend its application only until conclusion of the retrial and the return of the verdict; provided, however, that the prohibitions imposed by said paragraph shall apply as well to communications between the media and jurors, including discharged jurors, that might otherwise be initiated by jurors.
WITNESS, the Honorable Deborah T. Poritz, Chief Justice, at Trenton, this 22nd day of April, 2002.
JUSTICES STEIN, COLEMAN, VERNIERO, LaVECCHIA, and ZAZZALI join in the Court's Order.
CHIEF JUSTICE PORITZ and JUSTICE LONG concur in the majority's conclusions with respect to ¶13 of the July 18, 2001, order, but dissent from the remainder of the Court's order. They would hold that ¶15 constitutes a prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and would permit juror interviews by the media at the discretion of the juror. A change of venue, coupled with a searching voir dire of prospective jurors at defendant's retrial, in the view of the dissenting Justices, would provide a less restrictive alternative to the prohibitions in the Court's Order.
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