Court OKs use of anonymous jury, upholds death sentence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The state Supreme Court ruled that Tennessee judges can keep the names of trial jurors secret if deciding the fate of accused killers could put them in danger.

The court issued the ruling yesterday while upholding the death sentence of a Memphis man convicted of murdering his former girlfriend after she went to police seeking protection from him.

The decision rejected an argument by death row inmate David Ivy, who claimed that his trial judge's decision to identify jurors by numbers rather than their names was tantamount to telling the jury that he was guilty.

The court said it could find no provision in Tennessee law either allowing or prohibiting trial judges from barring public disclosure of jurors' identities.

But Justice E. Riley Anderson said rulings in other states and by federal courts have allowed the use of anonymous juries as long as pains were taken to guarantee fair trials for the accused.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)