Posted on April 4, 2013 at 9:40 PM
Friday, Apr 5 at 4:04 PM
PHOENIX -- Judge Sherry Stevens Thursday denied a defense motion to sequester the jurors, which apparently is not an unusual move in Arizona.
“Arizona really has a history of trying to stay away from sequestering jurors,” said attorney Brent Kleinman.
Similar high-profile murder cases in recent years have had sequestered juries. Jurors in the Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, and OJ Simpson trials were all sequestered for at least some of the trial. The Simpson jurors were sequestered the longest, for more than eight months.
It is not unheard of for an Arizona jury to face sequestration, but it is rare.
Cost is one factor that has steered Arizona judges away from it.
“You put 18 people in a hotel room for four months, and you do the math,” said Kleinman.
The math adds up to more than $55,000 based on a hotel cost of $75 per night for the 18 jurors for the 41 days the trial has been in session, though jurors would likely have been sequestered on weekends and off-days as well, which would add to the cost.
Another factor is the toll sequestration can take on the members of the jury and their families.
“It is almost similar to a punishment for the defendant who is going to the jail cell. Granted, the Sheraton is a little nicer than a jail cell, put it’s a punishment,” Kleinman said. “You’re talking months. Judges really don’t want to put that juror so far out of their life that their harmed as well.”
Martha Miller knows that first hand. Her mother was they jury foreman in the trial surrounding the Tucson Pioneer Hotel fire.
“She was sequestered for seven weeks with the other jurors, even on weekends,” said Miller. “We only got to see her twice in those seven weeks.”