Potential jurors in Michael Jackson doctor's case asked about Casey Anthony
Attorneys would like to know whether any of the nearly 150 prospective jurors who may soon be asked to decide the case of Michael Jackson’s doctor have previously followed any high-profile legal cases, including the recent Florida trial of Casey Anthony.
The last of 145 potential panelists was given the 113-question, 30-page questionnaire late Friday, with wide-ranging questions about their backgrounds and opinions on subjects related to the involuntary manslaughter case. The questionnaire asked if following the high-profile cases -- the list included the O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake and Phil Spector trials in addition to Anthony’s -- affected their views of the criminal justice system.
Attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray, who faces up to four years in prison for Jackson’s overdose death, had repeatedly pointed to the Anthony case to argue that the upcoming trial would cause a storm of media coverage that would be impossible for the jury to avoid. They requested the jury's sequestration, which Judge Michael Pastor rejected.
The mention of Anthony, who was acquitted in the death of her daughter, was one of the few tweaks from an earlier questionnaire that had been passed out to a different pool of jurors in the spring. That group was disbanded after the judge allowed a four-month delay in the trial.
Jurors were also asked if they knew about any of 27 medications, including propofol, the surgical anesthetic that killed Jackson, and lorazepam, a sedative also found to have contributed to his death. They were asked if they had particularly positive or negative experiences with doctors, and if anyone close to them had suffered from addiction.
The questionnaire also asked if the potential jurors considered themselves fans of Jackson or his family, and if they owned any of the singer’s CDs or memorabilia, or had attended any of his concerts.
Other questions included:
-- Do you tend to rely on your doctor’s advice without doing further investigation?
-- Do you think that people of wealth or fame are treated differently in the court system?
-- Did you ever watch "This Is It" (the documentary of Jackson's concert tour prep)?
Responses in the questionnaires will be pored over by attorneys as the pool is whittled down to a final 12. Attorneys are scheduled to question the jurors in person beginning Sept 23.
-- Victoria Kim
Photo: Casey Anthony. Credit: Joe Burbank / Associated Press