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United States v. Taylor

November 16, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
REJON TAYLOR



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is Defendant Rejon Taylor's ("Defendant") "Motion Requesting Sequestration of Jury" (Court File Nos. 200, 204). Defendant filed a memorandum in support of the motion (Court File No. 205) and the government responded to the motion (Court File No. 232). For the reasons stated below, the Court will DENY Defendant's motion.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Sequestration of a jury is committed to the sound discretion of the trial judge. United States v. Swainson, 548 F.2d 657, 664 (6th Cir. 1977); Mastrian v. McManus, 554 F.2d. 813, 818 (8th Cir. 1977. Sequestration of a jury works a hardship upon those selected to serve as jurors and also reduces the number of potential jurors ("The procedure of sequestration is one of the most burdensome tools of the many available to assure a fair trial. It necessarily narrows the cross section from which a jury is drawn by eliminating those persons for whom a lockup would be prohibitive" Mastrian, 554 F.2d at 819). For ths reason a trial judge should decide to sequester a jury only as a last resort. Before making such a decision the trial court should carefully consider charges of outside influence in cautiously exercising its discretion to sequester a jury in a criminal trial. United States v. Acuff, 410 F.2d 463, 467 (1969). "Whether sequestration is necessary should turn on the special facts fo [sic] each case" and "[c]ertain cases by their nature create wide public interest and invite discussion." Id. In Acuff, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the "Sixth Circuit") lists several factors for the Court to consider in deciding whether or not to sequester a jury:

(1) inconvenience to jurors;

(2) the possibility of hastened verdicts to avoid prolonged sequestration;

(3) lack of adequate lodging;

(4) and the extent of the publicity given to the case. Id.

II. RELEVANT FACTS

On October 13, 2004, Defendant was indicted in a four-count indictment and charged with:

(1) carjacking resulting in death (18 U.S.C. §§ 2119(3) and 2(a) and (b)) in Count One;

(2) firearms murder during and in relation to carjacking (18 U.S.C. §§ 924(j)(1) and 2(a) and (b)) in Count Two;

(3) kidnapping resulting in death (18 U.S.C. §§ 1201(a)(1) and 2(a) and (b)) in Count Three; and

(4) firearms murder during and in relation to kidnapping of one alleged victim, Guy Luck (18 U.S.C. ยงยง 924(j)(1) and 2(a) and (b)) in Count Four (Court File No. 1). The government filed its notice of intent to ...


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