Isolating the jury in the Sievers trial may be expensive for taxpayers

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Dr. Teresa Sievers. (Credit: WINK News)
Dr. Teresa Sievers. (Credit: WINK News)

The murder of Dr. Teresa Sievers made headlines across Southwest Florida and that is what is making it hard to find neutral jurors. That is why there is a motion to isolate the jury.

One Florida Gulf Coast University professor explains how this move could end up costing you money.

A big part of two of these motions relating to the jury is that the defense hopes to prevent any outside influence. But they said also protecting the rights of their clients, Jimmy Rodgers and Mark Sievers, who are set to get to trial this summer.

Motions to immediately ID potential jurors and isolate the jury pool during questioning. It is a request the defense for Sievers and Rodgers noted they do not make frivolously.

Pamella Seay, an attorney and professor of Justice Studies at FGCU, said it is expensive and difficult.

“Ordinarily a jury is not sequestered until after they are sworn,” Seay said. “In this instance, they are asking for the jury pool those people who could become jurors… they are asking those people to become sequestered. That is highly unusual!”

Seay said the defense would likely argue isolating the jury pool even before they are selected is necessary to prevent any outside influence. A friend found the victim murdered in her Bonita Springs home back in 2015.

A detective said her husband was the mastermind behind the brutal killing. The motion on Monday from the defense highlights the significant publicity of the case and the potential for that to taint the entire pool even during selection.

“If you have already formed an opinion about the case,” Seay said, “then you are not a good potential juror.”

But Saey said the cost could be astronomical to sequester potential jurors. The defense is looking for two separate juries, one for the husband and the other for Rodgers. Rodgers is also on trial for killing the Bonita Springs doctor.

Seay said it is probable that the judge will instead ask potential jurors to not talk about the case with family or friends.

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