Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dr. Conrad Murray Preliminary Hearing

Testimony starts today in the preliminary hearing for Dr. Conrad Murray, charged with manslaughter in the death of music icon Michael Jackson. On June 25th, 2009, Jackson died of a overdose of propofol, a prescription anesthesia drug normally used in hospitals during surgery. Jackson suffered from severe insomnia and Dr. Murry told LE he administered a standard dose of the drug to help Jackson sleep. The autopsy revealed there was a much larger amount of this drug in Jackson that Dr. Murray stated he administered. The prosecution contends all the drugs were administered by Dr. Murray. It has been reported in the media that the defense does not plan on presenting any theory (or witnesses) as to what happened the night of Jackson's death at this hearing.

The hearing will be held in Judge Michael Pastor's courtroom, Dept 107 of the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles. A large media and public turnout is expected. It is my understanding that there are only 10 media seats inside the courtroom and 20 public seats available via lottery. There will be a media overflow room in another courtroom.

I've covered a trial in Judge Pastor's court, the Cameron Brown retrial for first degree murder. I really respected Judge Pastor. It was interesting to note that when media requested to take photographs of the Brown opening statement (and later, during the reading of the verdict (hung jury) Judge Pastor informed the media not to take any photographs of him, just the defendant and counsel. At the time I thought that was very interesting, so it comes as no surprise that Judge Pastor ruled there would be no video or media transmitting from inside the courtroom. Computers and blackberries can only be used for note taking. All media reporting must be done from outside the courtroom. This rule also applies for the media overflow room.

I'm honored to report that the Court's PIO has recognized me as a member of the media and that I will be allowed a seat in the media overflow room (if I don't make it into the public lottery). To give you an idea how many media have requested courtroom seats, In Sessions correspondent Beth Karas has told me she is #72 on the list for one of those 10 seats, and I registered for a seat long after she did. There will be many reporters vying for those 20 public seats as well as the general public. I will try to report from the hallway who has arrived until I'm allowed inside the courtroom. Look for a short update around 1:30 pm PT.


Anonymous said...

Typos? Do you mean to say Judge Pastor when you've said Judge Perry?

Sprocket said...

You are correct. I wrote that this morning at 6 am, bleary eyed from too little sleep.

Anonymous said...

WoW WTG with being recognized as a member of the media. Actually you do much better than most of the media anyway. I look forward to your reports. :)

Sprocket said...

Shaye asked:

"How do they select the people for the lottery drawing for the 20 open seats for the public. Where do you sign up or where do you go to be put in the lottery drawing.

Does anyone know?

Shaye, I didn't post your comment because it included your E-mail addy, opening you up to spam-bots. You can always E-mail me directly. There is a link to my E-mail on my Blogger profile page.

The lottery is conducted daily by the Public Information Office. It can differ for each trial, depending on the situation and courtroom.

For the first time that I was aware of, (it may have been done before; I don't know) the lottery was held in the TEMPLE STREET PLAZA, right in front of the court building. There were big signs on the sheet glass windows where the lottery was held.

In every high-profile trial I've been to before, the lottery was held right outside the courtroom in the hallway.

Here's what happens. The PIO uses those coupon tickets like you might get at a carnival or other ticketing event where there are two identical tickets side by side on the roll. People line up or go up to the PIO officer with that ticket roll and get a ticket. The matching ticket is put in either a bowl or a paper envelope. Once everyone has received a ticket, then the PIO reaches into the bowl or bag and pulls a ticket. The ticket number is read out loud and if you have that number, you get one of the public seats. You don't get to choose where you sit in the courtroom. The PIO tells you where you get to sit.

I hope that answers your question.

If you have any other questions, you can always contact the LA Co. superior court's Public Information Office. On the Court's web page,


click on the link that says


There is a phone number there to call. It does help to have the CASE number of the trial you are inquiring about.

I "believe" this is the correct case number, but I could be wrong.


I hope this answers your question.