Sunday, February 13, 2005

Thoughts about MJ jury selection

The LA Times reports that lawyers in the Michael Jackson trial are sifting through 2,000 pages of jury pool responses to the jury selection questionnaire. A few things are clear already -- most people have heard about the current charges against Jackson, 9 of 10 according to E! Online. And reflecting some of the connections typical of small cities, a number of members of the jury pool report some kind of personal connection to MJ. In a story "Six Degrees of Michael Jackson," E! Online says about 1 of every 7 jurors has some personal tie. The LA Times reports these responses:

"My niece-in-law's sister has dated Ely, Michael's cousin, and we have attended family functions with Ely," wrote a 43-year-old woman from nearby Buellton.

Juror 87 said his uncle is a friend of Jackson. And Juror 95 said a friend works at Jackson's 2,700-acre Neverland ranch.Several members of the pool said they had visited Jackson's ranch.

"I went to Neverland w/ special ed for my sch. dist.," wrote Juror No. 10, a schoolteacher. "My disabled daughter was allowed to go to Neverland, but Mr. Jackson was not present during her school visit," wrote Juror No. 243, a risk analyst.

But more critical, in my view, is whether or not potential jurors know of the previous settlement MJ made with another child on similar charges. Again relying on "Six Degrees of Michael Jackson,"

Some 60 percent of the potential jurors were also aware of the 1993 investigation against Jackson on similar charges of child molestation that resulted in a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement.

The prior charges may or may not be admitted into the current trial. They may not need to be, with that high level of knowledge!


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