Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Sequestered Jury Definition:

A jury which has been confined to a location where they can be shielded from outside distractions while their deliberations are ongoing.

Related Terms: Jury, Mistrial, Empanel

Out of court communication with a jury member can cause a mistrial. A sequestered jury is confined to prevent that, often to a hotel, and with access to friends and family and the media severely limited (television, Internet, radio and newspapers) while the trial is ongoing.

The purpose of sequestration of the jury is also to shield them from all outside sources of potential influence and to isolate them with the evidence given to them during the trial.

Balfour Der writes:

"The trial judge has the discretion to order sequestration of the jury during the calling of evidence.

"Sequestration upon the jury retiring to consider their verdict is mandatory.

"It is possible for jurors (who have been sequestered) to leave their jury room and be in a public forum, e.g. a restaurant or a hotel lobby, so long as they are under the watch and control of a court official."

In Demeter v R, the Supreme Court of Canada remarked that the decision to sequester a jury, or not, is a matter of the trial judge's discretion.


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