Abundant Sequestered Juries in Shelby Co. In Question

Posted on: 3:43 pm, May 9, 2013, by , updated on: 01:20pm, May 10, 2013

(Memphis) District attorney Amy Weirich says Shelby County has more sequestered juries than others, because there is so much business.

She says this is an important part of the judicial process, “Keeping the jury protected from what might spill into their deliberations. And any case that might get a lot of media attention, even if it’s not a murder case.”

In addition to protecting jurors from outside information, they must also physically guard them, especially when the trials are about gang crimes.

Besides being guarded, jurors eat catered lunches, sleep in a hotel and are entertained.

That comes with a cost for tax payers.

“Every tax payer dollar comes out of someone’s wallet. And that’s food off someone’s table or tuition or medicine for them,” said Shelby County Commissioner Heidi Shafer.

Shafer wants her board to look at how much is being spent and if there could be savings, “There are good reasons for that. But other areas are doing it differently and. I would like us to at least take a look at how their doing it to see if there are some things we can learn from them.”

The sheriff’s office budgets $300,000 a year for sequestration of which a portion of that is refunded from the state.