Sequestration of the jury has begun in the George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin murder trial in Sanford (Seminole County), Florida.
The Seminole County Courthouse is just a couple miles from my home so I stopped by the place over the weekend. No surprise, the parking lot is jam-packed full of news trucks under the watchful eyes of guards and sheriffs.
Mum’s the word on which hotel in the nearby area the jury may be living at over the weeks expected for the trial.
In the Orlando area’s previous notorious case, that of Casey Anthony, court officials looked for a hotel with laundry facilities, a gym so jurors could exercise, and a private dining area where they could eat most meals out of the public’s view. If similar requirements exist for the Zimmerman trial then possibilities for nearby hotels may include the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, Courtyard Orlando Lake Mary/North, or Homewood Suites by Hilton Orlando-Maitland.
According to the article linked to above, in the Anthony case, jurors were allowed to watch movie DVDs in their hotel rooms, but the movies had to be approved by attorneys for both sides of the case. The hotel’s cable provider reconfigured the televisions in the jurors’ hotel rooms to eliminate news programs. However, as attention on the trial heated up, trial coverage started appearing on channels that previously had been deemed safe and those also were removed from jurors’ selection. By the end of the trial, only one channel remained: the Home Shopping Network.
Inquiring hotel point-minded folks may be asking:
- Will each juror receive the points for their hotel stay, even though the county is covering their bill?
- Do the jurors even know to sign up for the hotel’s reward program?
- The jurors in this case happen to all be female. Will they select a hotel with a spa? If so, that would certainly soften the hardship of being away from home somewhat.
As a very frequent hotel stayer, I cannot imagine living in a hotel as these jurors will be doing. Very little television, no concierge lounge to access at any time, no upgraded suite (most likely), no internet access, no unlimited phone or Skype calls to family and friends, and no leaving the property without other jurors and countless guards. Actually, the lack of internet access would be the absolute killer for me.
How do you think you’d do as a sequestered juror?