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Jurors in criminal trials would be barred from trying to sell their stories while they're still deciding someone's guilt or innocence, under a bill passed Tuesday by the State Senate and sent to the Assembly.

The legislation would make both jurors and news organizations legally liable for trying to make arrangements to publish stories of deliberations while the trial is still in progress, said its sponsor, State Sen. Dale Volker, R-Depew.

Selling of jurors' stories became an issue when a juror tried to enter into a publishing agreement before a decision in the racially charged Howard Beach case in New York City.

In 1987, a field producer for WNYW-TV in New York City called editors at three newspapers, saying he was acting on behalf of the jury forewoman. The woman had been keeping a detailed diary of the trial and was willing to sell publication rights to the highest bidder.

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