Dane County Legal Resource Center librarian, Paula Seeger, has introduced a new quarterly e-publication called Legal Research Reports.
The first issue is on the topic of Jury Sequestration Practices in Wisconsin and Sequestration Alternatives.
There is a variety of literature and practice regarding jury management in lengthy, and/or high profile cases. Most local practice is to sequester juries only in first-degree homicide or murder cases. Many local courts have not sequestered a jury in several years, nor have had a high profile case that would necessitate thought about jury management. The alternatives to sequestration cited most often are: using anonymous juries, using an out of county jury, change of venue, issuing gag orders, issuing thorough jury admonitions or instructions, or using limited sequestration (such as sequestering only during deliberation or not over weekends). The literature reinforces that sequestration should be left up to the discretion of the presiding judge, as is the law in Wisconsin and other states, and goes so far as to say that sequestered jurors could be considered prisoners without the benefit of due process. I will summarize the various methodology results and list the sources I consulted while summarizing their contribution to this topic. Finally, I will make recommendations for further study.
To received a copy of this quarter’s report and/or to get on the Legal Research Reports mailing list, contact Paula at Paula.Seeger@wicourts.gov