Free meals, a hotel room, and armed escorts; it sounds opulent, but for a death penalty juror sequestered from society, entertainment options are slim, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “You turn the TV on, and it’s just snow,” said one juror. Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen, whose deputies provide security, called sequestrations “a logistical nightmare” that stretch his deputy pool to the limit. The prize tag for the penalty phase of a capital case last week came to more than $17,000.
After 13 hours of deliberation, the jurors reported they could not come to a unanimous verdict, so the defendant was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. A sheriff’s official says that the office has screened movies for sequestered jurors, or even taken them shopping — under guard, of course. “They’re escorted just like the president,” said the official. “Nobody talks to them. Nobody can have any contact with them at all.”