Jury Sequestration: What Is It and Is It Effective?
Published April 29, 2022
Jury sequestration is the process of isolating a jury in order to minimize deliberate or accidental tainting of the jury through exposure to outside influence or material that is not allowed in court.
What Is Jury Sequestration?
When a judge sequesters a jury, they are removed from public view. When necessary, the jury is often placed in a lodging close to the courthouse. Jurors are prohibited from watching television or reading the news. They have restricted contact with family members and are monitored constantly.
Sequestering a jury is intended to protect their opinions from being influenced by the media or other external influences, as well as to protect them from bribery or being threatened by external forces. A juror’s view of a case can be affected by listening to the news, chatting with any member of the public, and even overhearing attorneys’ discussions outside the courtroom. All of these factors can work against the defendant’s right to a fair and unbiased trial before a jury of their peers.
Juries are rarely sequestered due to the difficulty of the process. A more typical and straightforward remedy is a change of venue request — requesting that the courts allow a case to be heard in a different town or county in order to help limit the impact of external influences on a jury. However, in high-profile instances, a relocation of the venue may be irrelevant. In such cases, juries will almost certainly be sequestered.
Is Jury Sequestration Effective?
To properly isolate a jury, a judge must be able to restrict its members’ access to all types of media, like television, news sources, and cellular phones. Jurors’ mail is also checked, and they are prohibited from discussing the trial with one another.
Jury sequestration is possible to succeed if the presiding judge over the case handles it properly. For instance, in the trial of George Zimmerman, the jury was sequestered for 22 days. They were, however, permitted to get manicures, go bowling, watch movies, and shop in groups. These trips aided jurors in maintaining their sanity; however, they stopped once the jury began deliberating on a verdict.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher, on the other hand, stated that he believed jury sequestration would be ineffective. He claimed that in the past, avoiding media included not reading the newspaper or watching television, but now, that is no longer the case due to the presence of media in our lives.
Jury Sequestration Outcome Depends on Its Members
So, how effective is jury sequestration? It is up entirely to the members of the jury. Even when they are treated fairly by the justice system, sequestration can come to feel like imprisonment. Perhaps some jurors may develop a more profound sympathy for the individuals on trial as they understand what it is like for the prisoners. On the other hand, people may make hasty decisions in order to escape the situation. Jury sequestration is a high-risk strategy that is rarely utilized because of the potential for bias.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn is an SEO Specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.