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April 6, 1993

 

 

Ms. Cindy A. Mullen
3108 Devon Avenue
Medford, NY 11763

The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to
issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is
based solely upon the facts presented in your correspondence.

Dear Ms. Mullen:

I have received your letters of March 22 and March 24. Based
upon a review of both and the correspondence that you forwarded,
the only remaining issue involves your right to obtain the names of
jurors who participated in your husband's criminal trial.

In this regard, although the Freedom of Information Law
provides broad rights of access, it has been held by the state's
highest court that records identifying jurors are confidential. By
way of background, in response to a request for jurors' names and
addresses by a newspaper, the Court of Appeals referred to §509(a)
of the Judiciary Law. That provision requires a commissioner of
jurors to determine the qualifications of prospective jurors based
in part on juror qualification questionnaires and states that "such
questionnaires...shall not be disclosed except to the county jury
board or as permitted by the appellate division." Based upon the
quoted language, the Court found that the records in question were
"specifically exempted from disclosure by statute", and, therefore,
could be withheld under §87(2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Law
[see Newsday v. Sise, 71 NY 2d 146 (1987)].

Since the Freedom of Information Law cannot be used to obtain
jurors' names, it is suggested that you contact your husband's
attorney. It is possible that the attorney may have records or
notes that include jurors' names.

I regret that I cannot be of greater assistance. Should any
further questions arise, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

 

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director
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