Jackson Defense Worried About Jury Questions

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Jackson Defense Worried About Jury Questions

Post by whisper » Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:27 pm

Jackson Defense Worried About Jury Questions

Sources: Defense Concerned Questionnaire Doesn't Ask Enough Questions About Feelings About The King of Pop

Feb. 2, 2005 – Approximately 250 prospective jurors in Michael Jackson's molestation trial will fill out a questionnaire when the second phase of jury selection begins Monday, and defense attorneys are worried there are not enough probing questions about how the potential panelists feel about Jackson and his reputation, ABC News has learned.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville ended the first phase of jury selection in Jackson's molestation trial Tuesday after saying that he was satisfied he had found enough people who are willing to serve. Jackson faces trial for allegedly molesting a now-15-year-old boy who spent time at his Neverland ranch and is believed to be the cancer survivor who appeared in the 2003 British documentary "Living With Michael Jackson."

The pop star, 46, has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys want to seat a 12-member jury with eight alternates.

Initially, Melville had planned to screen up to 750 potential jurors through today. But on Tuesday, after screening reportedly 430 people and excusing potential jurors who said they could not serve for hardship reasons, Melville said he was satisfied he had found enough people willing to serve.

Melville gutted the original questionnaire submitted by the lawyers from 29 pages and 300 questions to seven pages and 47 questions. Those who have seen the questions told ABC News there are no probing personal questions about how the prospective jurors feel about Jackson.

Jackson's defense, sources told ABC News, is concerned that the edited questionnaire does not have enough questions that could ferret out people who think Jackson is weird or guilty of the charges he faces.

Feelings About Jackson's Reputation

Some experts say they would want to know more information about what jurors know about – and how they feel about – Jackson's reputation, especially since he faced similar molestation accusations from a 12-year-old boy in 1993. (Jackson was never criminally charged, as prosecutors decided not to pursue the case after they said the alleged victim refused to testify. Jackson settled a civil suit filed by the boy's family for a reported $20 million.)

"You need to find out, given the stories that have appeared in the media about him over the years, you want to find out what they have heard," said Jennifer Merriman, a jury consultant for Courtroom Analytics. "Specifically, you would want to know what they heard, if anything, about his prior accusations against him."

In addition, some experts say, Jackson's defense team should want to know how prospective jurors feel about perceived eccentric behavior, including sleepovers for children at Neverland – a topic they must approach carefully, especially since the singer is in the courtroom.

Once a jury is picked, courtroom observers have predicted Jackson's trial could last as long as six months.

Reported by "20/20's" Jim Avila on "Good Morning America."

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=463799&page=2

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Jackson Defense Worried About Jury Questions

Post by Cristine87 » Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:35 pm

It would be a travesty to not ask them questions about how they feel about Michael. Those would be the most important questions considering he is a celebrity, but I know Michael has great & well paid lawyers that will take good care of him.


Jackson Defense Worried About Jury Questions

Post by ~Vicky~ » Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:54 pm


That better get fixed.

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Jackson Defense Worried About Jury Questions

Post by t1obaggage » Wed Feb 02, 2005 11:15 pm

Well, they can ask them questions when they are narrowing it down to the final 20, right? I mean, that's how they pick and choose is by asking individuals questions that are different than the questionnaire, right?

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Jackson Defense Worried About Jury Questions

Post by A.Beautiful.Mind » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:55 am

I'm felling rather dismal about this manipulated format of the questioning. This is very improper of the judge to turnover some essential questions, which could determine wether or not Michael's past could influence their judgement.


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