Maryland, Virginia Mull Anonymous Juries

Written by Kristi Jourdan Source: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Stephen Cardosi, the foreman in the Scott Peterson murder trial, has some advice for states considering anonymous jurors in all crimes. So does fellow juror Mike Belmessieri, and they don't agree.

Hounded by reporters who wrote down his license-plate number and called him at 3 a.m., Mr. Cardosi says no one has the right to his or any other juror's identity.

"The public still has a First Amendment right to know about the person who committed the crime, but you don't have the right to know my private information," Mr. Cardosi, a 34-year-old paramedic and firefighter, said.

"That would be like me walking up to a girl and saying, 'Hey, I have a right to know your phone number.'"

Mr. Belmessieri faced much of the same scrutiny in the high-profile California murder trial in which Peterson was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and unborn child. Yet he strongly disagrees. He says the stakes are too high and jurors need to take responsibility for their decisions, including who they are.

"If I'm going to send someone to the death house, I'd better be able to stand tall and look someone square in the eyes and say, 'I did it,'" said Mr. Belmessieri, a 60-year-old retired police officer and Vietnam-era Marine.