NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Criminal District Judge Camille Buras was asked by assistant district attorney, Laura Rodrigue to order sequestration of jurors empaneled for next month's trial of Cardell Hayes. Wednesday Judge Buras granted the motion to sequester the jurors for the length of the trial.
Hayes’ attorney John Fuller opposed the motion and asked Judge Camille Buras not to sequester the jury this morning, stating that only a jury who could afford childcare and to take off work for the duration of this trial would be selected. His defense is that his client, who is a tow-truck driver, is blue-collar and hopes to have a jury that create wont create "economic disparity."
Hayes is accused of shooting former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith and his wife after a car crash in the Lower Garden District in April. Hayes claims he fired in self defense.
Jury selection will begin on Monday.
WGNO legal analyst Craig Mordock said the move is extremely rare.
“There has not been a sequestered jury in Orleans criminal court since 2011,” Mordock said. “It’s usually used in cases of first degree murder, so for a second degree murder trial to have a sequestered jury goes to show you the amount of publicity that this case is expected to garner.”
The move, designed to protect jurors from outside influences, will likely impact “blue collar workers,” who will be faced with a potentially lengthy absence from work, Mordock said.
“Obviously everyone in the city will be talking about the trial,” he said.
While keeping the jurors away from television will put a damper on potential outside influences, stopping all contact with the outside world seems unlikely.
“A jury is still going to have their cell phones,” Mordock said.
If someone does break the sequestration, Mordock expects alternates to be pulled in immediately.