Jury in Michael Jackson case won't be sequestered, court affirms
Jury selection in the trial of Michael Jackson’s personal physician will proceed as scheduled Thursday morning after an appellate court decided not to wade into the issue of how panelists will be kept away from intense media coverage of the case.
The 2nd District Court of Appeals summarily denied a petition by defense attorneys seeking sequestration of jurors at Dr. Conrad Murray’s upcoming manslaughter trial. Without commenting, the appeals court upheld the ruling of the trial court judge who said round-the-clock isolation was unnecessary, prohibitively expensive and stressful for jurors. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said he had faith in jurors' ability to follow instructions about avoiding media coverage.
In their appeal, defense attorneys had called the judge’s view “Pollyanna” and pointed to the Casey Anthony trial in Florida with its stream of legal pundits offering what the attorneys called bombastic and biased analysis on television. Jurors were sequestered in that case.
Prospective panelists are due in a downtown courthouse Thursday morning to fill out a lengthy questionnaire that the judge has called “exhaustive and exhausting.” The trial is expected to begin in the last week in September.
Murray faces a maximum of four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He is accused of causing Jackson’s death by overdose on a surgical anesthetic.
-- Harriet Ryan and Victoria Kim
Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray makes in Los Angeles County Superior Court last year. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times