For 22 nights, they stayed at a Florida Marriott, ate hotel food and takeout lunches, and occasionally went out to Outback Steakhouse and other restaurants. They exercised at the hotel fitness center, went bowling, hit Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, saw two movies at the theater, enjoyed Fourth of July fireworks, did some shopping, visited with family and friends, and even got manicures and pedicures. But no, they weren't on an extended "girls' weekend"; they were the six jurors in the George Zimmerman trial, USA Today reports in a look at their $33,000 taxpayer-funded sequestration.
But lawyers and legal experts say the expenses (some of which were covered by the women themselves) shouldn't be viewed as luxurious. The $33,000 tab was a "small price to pay for the enormity of the task the jurors undertook," says a jury consultant for the defense. With regard to the mani-pedis, one attorney notes, "It certainly seems reasonable to me that a woman would desire a bit of personal grooming over 22 days." He adds that they may be judged harshly for their roles in the trial, and "a Bloomin' Onion at Outback would not adequately reimburse these women for the bitterness" they will experience. Indeed, it's already begun, courtesy of Juror B37...