Can Sequestered Jurors Use Cell Phones?

Balancing the need for a fair trial and preventing external influences with jurors’ comfort and well-being is crucial. In this overview, we would answer the question: Can Sequestered Jurors Use Cell Phones?; discuss its pros and cons and technological solutions for sequestered jurors. 

I. Understanding Sequestration of Jurors

Sequestration involves isolating jurors from the public and external influences during a trial. The purpose is to shield them from media coverage, discussions, or other potential sources of bias, ensuring their decision is based solely on the evidence presented in court.

In legal proceedings, a sequestered jury refers to a group of jurors who are isolated from the public and kept under close supervision during the trial. They are typically restricted from accessing external information and communicating with anyone outside the court to ensure a fair trial.

Sequestration is a critical process in the judicial system to maintain the impartiality of jurors and prevent external influences from affecting their decision-making. By keeping jurors isolated, the court aims to eliminate biases and safeguard the integrity of the trial.

Technology, particularly cell phones, has become an integral part of our daily lives. They offer various benefits like communication, access to information, and emergency assistance. However, the proliferation of cell phones raises concerns about their potential impact on sequestered jurors and the trial process.

II. Can Sequestered Jurors Use Cell Phones?

No, sequestered jurors are generally not allowed to use cell phones and other electronic devices while they are sequestered. This restriction is primarily in place to prevent jurors from accessing information about the trial or communicating with individuals outside of the jury room, which could potentially bias their decisions or compromise the integrity of the trial.

However, the exact rules and guidelines for sequestered jurors may be outlined by the judge presiding over the trial or set forth in local court rules. Jurors are usually instructed on these rules and expected to comply during the trial. In other words, the use of mobile phones by the jury can also be as a result of the judge’s discretion depending on the jurisdiction.

III. Pros and Cons Of Not Allowing Sequestered Jurors Use Their Cell Phones

Sequestered jurors are jurors who are isolated from the outside world during a trial to prevent any potential influence on their decision-making. Preventing the use of cell phones for sequestered jurors can have both advantages and disadvantages. Here are five of each:


1. External influences: Allowing cell phones increases the risk of external influences on jurors’ decisions. Jurors may be exposed to media coverage, social media discussions, or online opinions about the trial, potentially leading to biased judgments.

2. Privacy concerns: Cell phones pose a risk of confidential case information being shared inadvertently or intentionally with individuals outside the jury. This could compromise the integrity of the trial and lead to mistrials or leaks of sensitive information.

3. Distractions during deliberations: Jurors using cell phones during deliberations may be distracted by personal matters or unrelated content, leading to a lack of focus on the case at hand and potentially affecting the quality of their discussions.

4. Unequal access to technology: Not all jurors may have the same level of technological proficiency or access to smartphones. Allowing cell phones could lead to disparities in how jurors use and leverage technology, potentially influencing the dynamics within the jury.

5. Disruption of the sequestration environment: The purpose of sequestering jurors is to shield them from external influences and distractions. Allowing cell phones might undermine the effectiveness of sequestration, as jurors may not be fully isolated and may still be exposed to external stimuli.


1. Access to legal resources: Sequestered jurors can use their cell phones to access legal databases, case files, and relevant documents. This can enhance their understanding of the legal complexities and arguments presented during the trial, leading to more informed deliberations and better-informed decisions.

2. Improved communication: Allowing cell phones can facilitate communication among sequestered jurors. They can discuss the case, ask questions, and exchange thoughts without having to rely solely on face-to-face interactions. This can lead to more robust discussions and a broader range of perspectives being considered.

3. Easier access to information: Cell phones provide a quick and convenient way for jurors to access information related to the trial, such as previous testimonies, expert analyses, or background information on key witnesses. This accessibility can promote a more thorough understanding of the evidence presented.

4. Personal comfort and well-being: Sequestered jurors often face significant stress and disruption to their daily lives. Allowing cell phones can provide a sense of comfort and connection to their loved ones during this isolating period, reducing the psychological strain and potentially improving juror well-being.

5. Efficiency and productivity: Cell phones can aid in organizing schedules and managing time during sequestration. Jurors can use various apps and tools to schedule breaks, create to-do lists, and manage personal tasks, potentially leading to improved efficiency during the trial.


Last updated on: April 19, 2024

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