A Federal Appeals Court has ruled that Judge James Zagel acted too hastily when he barred media access to juror names in the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial.
Zagel had ruled that the media acted too late in demanding access to the names, which he had ruled should be kept secret, to prevent disruptions in the high profile case. He said he was especially concerned that bloggers might attempt to contact jurors while the case was still underway.
Writing for the Court, Judge Frank Easterbrook said Zagel should have considered the media request. "Had the Tribune (and others) moved to intervene in mid-2009," the Judge wrote, "The district court likely would have rejected the motion as premature."
The Appellate Court did not order that the names be released. Rather, they ordered Zagel to hold a hearing on the matter as soon as possible.