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Juror Sequestration

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Laura Jakli

on 10 April 2013

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Transcript of Juror Sequestration

by Laura Jakli Juror Sequestration Sequestering a jury means isolating the jury from the rest of the community

they are forbidden to have significant contact with anyone but their fellow jurors

This can happen at two different points of the judicial procedure:
1)during the trial itself
2)during deliberations Implementation What is juror sequestration? kept in isolated group

access to media (newspapers, TV) denied

cut off from family, friends

confined to the courtroom during regular work hours

required to eat/sleep in a specified location (usually a hotel)

court officers track every activity Other Notable Reasons Behind Sequestration
Minimizes the pressure from non-jurors for a particular verdict (if the case is very public)

Ensuring juror safety from harassment, threats, or actual violence (acts as a "shield")

Prevents jurors from being distracted by external forces--aids concentration

leads to more objective fact-finding

diminishes the effects of racial stereotypes Drawbacks of sequestration financially costly to the government

because of length, can affect representativeness of jury

depending on sequestration length, risks psychological harm to the jurors

potential to be unnerving and infuriating to jurors

fear of sequestration is actually a reason some people avoid jury service

It may be counter to truth-seeking and actually hinder the "due process" idea Conclusion Sequestration in practice-Famous cases Sequestration in practice Until 2001, New York state used to have the nation's strictest sequestration law

required juries in all violent felonies to live in a hotel for any overnight deliberations

12,000 jurors a year were sequestered!

a few states that have mandatory sequestration laws for the most serious criminal cases, such as death penalty cases

But in general, the decision is left solely to the judge

Though the prosecution or defense can request a sequestration, such motions are usually denied. There are a few states that have mandatory sequestration laws for the most serious criminal cases. Missouri, for example, requires that juries in death-penalty cases be sequestered. But in general, the decision is left solely to the trial judge. Either the prosecution or the defense can request a sequestration, but such motions are usually denied. There are no nationwide figures on the percentage of juries that are sequestered, but it's certainly tiny. New York used to have the nation's strictest sequestration law, which required juries in all violent felonies to be shipped off to a hotel if their deliberations lasted even one night. As a result, 12,000 jurors a year were sequestered. The controversial law was axed in 2001, though not until the state cut a deal with the court officers union. The union was worried that its members would lose valuable overtime, safeguarding sequestered jurors' hotel rooms. The state assuaged the officers by making sure they received time-and-a-half for other trial-related duties, like escorting jurors to bus stations at night. Notes & Sources Slide 2: (juror sequestration during the deliberation process is much more common, and sequestration, generally speaking, is rare)
Levine, James P., "The Impact of Sequestration on Juries." Judicature. Volume 79. 1996.

Slide 3: (Image Sources)

http://www.condenaststore.com/-sp/If-the-jury-had-been-sequestered-in-a-nicer-hotel-this-would-probably-ne-New-Yorker-Cartoon-Prints_i8473431_.htm

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-smXZDje00IY/Tl2GicfKXBI/AAAAAAAAAmo/4mou5Zx25ZI/s1600/lockedup.jpg

http://mikelynchcartoons.blogspot.com/2007/08/how-do-you-come-up-with-all-those.html

Slide 4:
As University of Texas law school professor Michael Tigar puts it, "There are prisons systems that provide more privileges than some sequestered jurors receive"
Hansen, Mark. "Sequestration: Little Used, Little Liked: Tensions on Simpson Jury Could be Symptom of Record Confinement" 81 A.B.A.J. 16, 17. Oct. 1995.
-court officers track every activity (may follow into bathrooms, physical activity limited)
-jurors can be held in contempt of court and are also subject to fines if they deviate from the sequestration conditions set forward
Levine, James P., "The Impact of Sequestration on Juries." Judicature. Volume 79. 1996.

Slide 5: OJ Simpson trial set the record for longest sequestered jury
-Levine, James P., "The Impact of Sequestration on Juries." Judicature. Volume 79. 1996. Charles Manson case (8 and a half months)

second Rodney King case (57 days)

OJ Simpson Trial (266 days) Negative Depictions of Sequestration Notes (Cont'd) Notes (cont'd) Slide 9: Social psychology research shows that prejudiced responses/opinions of the defendant in the case are diminished when the jurors are forced to interact at a personal level (if certain members of the jury fit the racial group of the defendant)
Locksley, Hepburn, and Ortiz, Social Stereotypes and Judgments of Individuals: an Instance of the Base-Rate Fallacy, 18 J. RES AND DEV. in EDUC. 23. 1982.


Slide 10: Research shows that fear of sequestration is actually a reason some people avoid jury service
Levine, Juries and Politics, Pacific Grove, CA; Brooks/Cole. p. 44. 1992.
In terms of the costs of jury sequestration, they can be enormous. New York state's former policy cost about 4 million dollars annually. Each case cost the state, on average, $2816 nightly! The total costs of the OJ trial sequestration amounted to $1 million.
New York State Office of Court Administration, supra n. 17 at p. 133
The core of the 6th Amendment right to an "impartial" jury is that the jury must be able to "render a verdict based on the evidence presented in court"
-Irvin v Dowd, 1961 The Growing Problem--"Trial by Newspaper" There's an inherent tension between fundamental Constitutional rights:
1) the 1st Amendment rights to the freedom of speech and freedom of the press
2) a criminal defendant's 6th Amendment right to a fair trial by an impartial jury

the growth of the power and presence of the media has exacerbated the problem

while the effects used to be localized and therefore prejudice could be avoided with a change in venue, this is no longer the case

Prejudicial news comments on pending trials are prevalent; when faced with a reasonable likelihood that publicity would prevent a fair trial, the judicial system must take whatever measures it deems fit to ensure that the jury reaches a verdict based only on the evidence at trial

While some argue that there are other measures that can be taken to guard against prejudice--pre-trial questioning of the jury, making the jury promise not to watch the news or talk about the case, restrictions of the press, and change of venue--none of these can ENSURE a fair trial to the effect that sequestration can

Especially in high-stakes trials, such as those of death penalty, juror discomfort and government financial strains simply do not measure up to the fundamental importance of an impartial jury trial The Research Behind Impartiality notable empirical research documents jurors' dishonesty about prejudices and preconceived notions during the voir dire procedure

other research reveals that despite their promises, jurors often fail to obey judges' demands to ignore certain evidence, steer clear of outside sources of exposure, and focus solely on the evidence at trial

research even finds that orders to ignore publicity made media information have an even GREATER impact on jurors! Slide 10: Can lead to a non-representative jury because only limited categories of people are available for a jury that will be sequestered--In one highly publicized case, 95% of the 4500 potential jurors said that sequestration would impose a prohibitive hardship.
Hansen, Mark. "Sequestration: Little Used, Little Liked: Tensions on Simpson Jury Could be Symptom of Record Confinement" 81 A.B.A.J. 16, 17. Oct. 1995.

It may be counter to truth-seeking and actually hinder the "due process" idea because it can cause:
-selection of a non-representative jury
-jurors to hasten to judgment to end sequestration
- jurors to identify with the government (as the "jury’s caretaker") or against the government (as the "jury’s jailer").
- lawyers and judges to try to "rush" the case along to avoid the possibility that the jury will align against the "prolonging" party

Strauss, Marcy. "Sequestration." 24 Am. J. Crim. L. 63. 1996.

Slide 11:
quote from IRVIN v. DOWD . 366 U.S. 717.1961.
Notes Slide 7: Simms, Abby Propis "Sequestration: A Possible Solution to the Free Press--Fair Trial Dilemma."23 Am. U. L. Rev. 923. 1973-1974. Slide 6: New York state jury sequestration facts:
Levine, James P. and Steven Zeidman. “The Miracle of Jury Reform in New York.” 88 Judicature 178. January-February 2005.
other state policy facts:
Levine, James P., "The Impact of Sequestration on Juries." Judicature. Volume 79. 1996.
Slide 8: repeated studies have shown that jurors hide prejudices/preconceived notions that could interfere with trial impartiality
Broeder, Dale W. " Voir Dire Examinations: An Empirical Study." Southern California Law Rev. 38:510-515. 1965.

research reveals that despite their promises, jurors often fail to obey judges' demands to ignore certain evidence, steer clear of outside sources of exposure, and focus solely on the evidence at trial

Hans, Valerie P. and Doob, Anthony N. "Section 12 of the Canada Evidence Act and the Deliberations of Simulated Juries." 18 CRIM. L. Q. 235, 242. 1976.
Minow and Cates. "Who Is an Impartial Juror in an Age of Mass Media?" 40 Am. U. L. Rev. 631. 1991.

research finds that admonitions to ignore publicity made media information have an even GREATER impact on jurors
GP Kramer, NL Kerr, JS Carroll. "Pretrial publicity, judicial remedies, and jury bias" Law and human behavior. p.409-430. 1990.
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