Sequestered Jury Hotel Living – Would You Survive?

CourthouseSequestration 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?


  1. For me it would be lack of Television and internet access. They better give me access to a yarn shop, my knitting needles, scissors and crochet hook and plenty of access to ravelry to find patterns for new knitting projects. Also give me internet access to and Barnes and Noble so I can download plenty of reading material. For that matter, they should be paying for my reading material. Because I could spend the entire stipend they pay you for jury duty just on reading materials. You don’t let me watch TV or kill time on the internet. And I’m going to turn into a knitting and reading machine. I do both at the same time. Prop up the kindle or nook in my lap and knit while reading. You’d have to allow me to download at least 4 novels per day. Because otherwise I’d be bored stiff and cranky with anyone that came near me.

  2. Frankly, I could not – ahem – WOULD NOT do it. I could live without the TV (have not owned one for >15 years) but the no internet would be difficult. Those jurors who do not already have the reading habit are well advised to develop same. One has to wonder… just who is facing an unknown term of incarceration here, the defendant or the jury? And this is not going to be a one-week trial. Our Duty to Serve is an important responsibility of citizenship, but it should not have to be this complicated. Those jurors have my sympathy.

  3. If we’re ever sequestered together, Wendy, we can have our own knitting and crochet club. This would be a great time to get all my started projects finally finished!

  4. Cedarglen – Yes, these jurors have my sympathy also, as well as my gratitude and appreciation for accepting this thankless challenge knowing that half the public will believe their decision is wrong. Accepting the role of juror takes guts. And you’re right about it not being a one week trial. I’ve seen estimates of 2 to 4 weeks, which will have them sequestered over the 4th of July US holiday as well. I am thankful I fulfilled my jury duty requirement in this county several months ago.

  5. Darren – Oy is right! Even though these are all female jurors, there is only so much HSN shopping a gal can do (especially when some or most of them are probably losing pay from not being able to work).

  6. You should probably admit that you plagurized a good 75% of this article from a new article yesterday. Seriously, I read the exact same, word-for-word description of things yesterday. Plagurism is unethical.

  7. Hi Ryan – I have a link to the article I got this info from at the top of paragraph 1. To be clearer, I added ‘According to the article linked to above’ to the appropriate paragraph. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  8. I wonder if they allowed them to order stuff from HSN ?

    I could do it but it would be difficult and I’d want the points.

  9. Hi DaninSTL — HSN ordering might be tough with no internet. Maybe use their one phone call a day to place their order? I can’t imagine explaining that one to my husband on why I didn’t call!

  10. As long as I had a hotel room to myself & did not have to share one with another juror, I’d be okay with it .But if I had to share a room with one of the other jurors, Then there is no way I could do it.

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