Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Conrad Murray Trial Starts Tomorrow

Dr. Conrad Murray, right, with his attorney J. Michael Flanagan, at a prior court hearing. Photo: Pool/REUTERS

In Sessions is reporting on their Facebook page that the California Court of Appeal has just denied a defense request to stay Conrad Murray's manslaughter trial. Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of pop icon Michael Jackson.

In pretrial motions the defense team had requested that for Murray to receive a fair trial, the jury should be sequestered (a la Casey Anthony jury) to protect it from the onslaught of media coverage. Judge Pastor had previously denied that motion and the defense appealed Pastor's ruling with the Appellate Court.

The trial starts tomorrow with the first phase of jury selection. From my understanding, the first questionnaire will deal with hardship issues to see if they can get a pool of jurors that can serve for the expected five weeks of trial. Once the hardship cases have been weeded out, the remaining jurors would be required to fill out a more extensive questionnaire.

I decided early on that I would not try to get a reserved seat at this trial because it would be difficult to get and the fact that the trial would have cameras in the courtroom. Instead, I chose to cover the Stephanie Lazarus trial (set to begin October 17th) where cameras, laptops, blackberries and smart phones have been banned from the courtroom. Hopefully, our guest writer "KZ" will be able to contribute a story or two on the Murray case once the trial kicks off with opening statements.

CNN Judge Denies Defense Jury Sequestration Motion


Anonymous said...

I used to be supporter of the concept of a sequestered jury because I felt it would allow a fair trial without family, media or other interference. After the OJ and Casey trials, I've changed my mind and now I feel that a sequestered jury actually hinders the application of justice. In the O J case, which, of course, had a whole separate set of interfering factors,the jurors were so eager to get home that they really refused to deliberate. In the Casey case, one writer spoke of the "group speak" which develops when jurors interract only with each other and spend a lot of time and effort during the trial on accommodating social behavior--just "getting along". When it comes time to deliberate, they have developed their own group culture to the detriment of expressing and holding on to individual opinions which is the core of the jury system. I believe that sequestration actually favors the defendent and that is the reason the defense fought for it in this case.


Sandy said...

I have to agree with SeniorMoments on jury sequestration... and appreciate T&T's coverage of this trial.