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SEQUESTRATION

1. in equity, the act of seizing property belonging to another and holding it until profits have paid the demand for which the property was taken.

2. In common law, juries (at least in capital cases) were always sequestered, i.e., kept together throughout the trial and jury deliberations, and guarded from improper contact until they were discharged. This common law right to demand jury sequestration has been replaced in most jurisdictions with discretion in the trial court to grant sequestration in the interests of justice.

3. Sequestration of witnesses is frequently ordered by the court at the request of one of the parties to insure that in-court testimony of each witness not be colored by what another witness said.
EXAMPLE: The prosecutor believed that defense witnesses might alter their versions of the facts if they were permitted to hear the State’s witnesses testify. To avoid that problem, he asked for the sequestration of all witnesses. The judge agreed and excluded all potential witnesses from the courtroom until they were called to testify.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; ©
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