(Repeats with no changes to text)
By David Adams
MIAMI, June 24 When the Trayvon Martin murder
case goes to trial on Monday in Sanford, Florida, the jury will
enter a world of almost total seclusion, separated from their
friends and families, as well as laptops and smart phones.
"They are treated like prisoners," said Richard Gabriel, 53,
a trial consultant and president of Los Angeles-based Decision
Analysis who worked on the 1995 trial of disgraced former NFL
star O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted in a double-murder case,
and Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of killing her daughter in
The six jurors, backed by four alternates, will decide
whether former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman,
29, should face up to life in prison for killing Martin in a
case that sparked a national debate about self-defense, guns and
Sequestration happens quite infrequently in trials and only
in extraordinary cases that have received intense media
coverage. "It seeks to create a more pristine environment for
the justice system to proceed," Gabriel said.
"The whole purpose is to isolate you from the world," said
Miami lawyer David Weinstein, a former state prosecutor. "They
put you in a bubble - complete internet isolation."
Historically, sequestration was used to prevent juries from
being influenced by family and friends, said Weinstein, but now
is used to insulate them from the omnipresent modern media.
The Zimmerman jurors, cloaked in anonymity and referred to
only by numbers in court, will be kept in a hotel, from which
they will be transported to and from the court.
Television channels in their hotel rooms will be limited to
restrict access to news about the trial, including late-night
During the Anthony trial, when jurors were sequestered in
Orlando for six weeks, members of the panel were limited to
taped movies and ate meals together.
Family contacts, including conjugal visits, are usually
restricted to weekends. Internet access is limited to essential
online bill payments.
In the Zimmerman trial the jury will spend the duration of
the trial - an estimated two to four weeks - under the constant
watch of the local sheriff's office.
A court spokeswoman said it will not discuss sequestration
issues until after the trial is over, with one exception. "I
will clear up one frequently asked question," said Michelle
Kennedy, the court services administrator. "Jurors will not be
required to share rooms with their fellow jurors."
The six members of the jury are all women, as are two of the
"It can be both a uniting and a dividing experience. Some
juries do a very good job and get on very well," Gabriel said.
The internal dynamics of sequestered juries can be
complicated during long trials, such as the Simpson case, which
lasted more than eight months.
"There's an internal pressure cooker," Gabriel said. "It
depends on whether they get along. Some juries form factions."
The isolation can be so complete that juries are often
surprised by the public reaction after it is over.
"The Casey Anthony jury were shocked when they heard how
angry people were with the verdict," Gabriel said. "They felt
they were following the law."
(Editing by Tom Brown and Bill Trott)