Tuesday, February 01, 2005

"Thriller" star's jury selection underway

According to news reports of the first day of jury selection in Michael Jackson's trial, about half the prospective jurors who showed up at the courthouse have asked to be excused from service. One of the things I find most troubling about "celebrity" trials is that they take so long. It's not just that I get sick of the saturation media coverage -- it's that I worry about who is going to be able to sit on the jury. The Jackson trial is predicted to last between 5 and 6 months. Who can set everything aside for that length of time? Not a representative cross-section of the population.

Two amusing stories from the LA Times about the prospective jurors:
Another man told [Judge] Melville that he wanted to serve on the jury but happened to be under house arrest for two more weeks and currently wears an electronic monitoring bracelet. Melville told him he could be part of the pool and the court would figure out something to do about his bracelet.

Another prospective juror said his boss wouldn't pay him during jury duty. "Your employer doesn't pay for jury service?" a taken-aback Melville asked. "No, sir," the man answered. "He's an attorney."

I'm rooting for the guy with the electronic monitoring bracelet, just to support a literal "jury of peers" theme, but there's no chance he'll wind up on the jury!

There are some new efforts to try to increase the compensation for jurors in long trials, but the better solution is to insist on shorter trials.

I'd like to see the jury selection questionnaire; anyone know if it's available online?


Blogger mike johnson said...

Val: They were asking prospective juriors if they could serve 9 months. About half said they could. Wow! Book deals must be lucrative. Keep up the good work Val. Mike

5:56 PM  
Blogger jeremy said...

I wonder: Would a university stop a tenure clock for someone to do nine-month jury service?

7:02 PM  
Blogger jeremy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, electronic monitoring guy!!!

This blog is going to be fierce competition for Jur-E, I can tell!

--Anne Skove

8:46 AM  

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