Why the Jackson Jury Got Picked So Fast

I don't understand the media's surpise as to the swiftness of the picking of the Michael Jackson jury.

The swift pace of the jury selection process has surprised court watchers, who had expected weeks of questioning and challenges by both sides. Instead, the process shot ahead to be completed in less than a week under the direction of Melville, who set Friday to hear last-minute legal motions by both sides.

After the Judge denied the defense's request (pdf)for individual sequestered questioning of the jurors, how long could it take? The defense recently renewed its request for both additional time to question the jurors and to question them individually in private. The Judge again denied both requests. (pdf)

I disagree with the court's rulings. In a case as sensitive as one involving charges of child molestation, it's important to question jurors individually because they might be too embarassed to answer truthfully in front of the whole panel and the media. In a case so high-profile the likehihood of stealth jurors i s enormous--individual, private questioning is far more likely to weed them out. The case is supposed to last six months. What was the judge's problem with allowing the defense a fair opportunity to question the jurors?

Both sides used jury selection experts: Howard Varinsky helped the state, and J. Lee Meihls worked for the defense.

One curious pick for an alternate:

A second alternate juror, 36-year-old delivery truck driver, said his mother-in-law had once worked at Jackson's estate and was a potential witness for the defense team. He also told the court he had once delivered packages to Neverland and had been asked to sign a document by Jackson's security guards saying he would not discuss what he saw on the estate.

Could the prosecution be in possession of some damaging information from this guy or his mother-in-law about Jackson or what they witnessed at Jackson's estate? Why would they leave him on?

The jury questionnaire was only 7 pages - hardly enough to yield critical information about the jurors. But the judge sided with juror privacy over Jackson's right to a fair jury.

The judge noted that the original questionnaire compiled by prosecutors and the defense was too long, adding that he "gutted it" so it wouldn't intrude as much on jurors' personal lives.

The Court has ruled it will release the Indictment and Grand Jury transcripts when the jury is sworn in.

Why is the trial going to take 6 months? Maybe because court will end at 2:30 p.m. each day and there will there will be no lunch. There will be only three ten-minute breaks per day. No wonder California has budget problems. Not to mention that people get cranky in court when their blood sugar levels fall.

Opening arguments begin Monday.

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  • Re: Why the Jackson Jury Got Picked So Fast (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 07:39:20 PM EST
    Personally, I am both saddened and horrified by Michael Jackson's behaviour over the last 15 years. But as a Citizen, I smell a railroad. Someone has decided that this guy is going to jail, and steps are being taken to ensure that it happens - starting with the charges. Am I wrong to think that? Cranky

    Re: Why the Jackson Jury Got Picked So Fast (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 08:10:34 PM EST
    Personally Michael Jackson makes my skin crawl, but give him a fair trial and let justice be served !

    Re: Why the Jackson Jury Got Picked So Fast (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 08:32:41 PM EST
    I agree with the judge. Going to extraordinary lengths to uncover everything in a potential juror's history is intrusive, and undermines the jury system.

    Re: Why the Jackson Jury Got Picked So Fast (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Feb 25, 2005 at 07:17:30 AM EST
    God, I love this judge!!!!!