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Michael Jackson Jury Selected Quickly

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The jury for the Michael Jackson trial has been chosen with very surprising rapidity: only five total court days and 2 1/2 days of questioning by attorneys. The process of choosing eight alternates is under way. The panel ranges in age from 20 to 79, and includes whites, Latinos and one Asian. There are no black jurors although there is one black man in the pool of possible alternates. Opening statements could begin as early as next week.

One thing is clear, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville runs a tight ship. Jury selection moved very quickly after he imposed a time limit on how long each prospect could be questioned.

No one is covering the trial better than the hometown Santa Maria Times:

    Jurors have a broad variety of life experiences.

    The 79-year-old panelist is a woman whose grandson is a registered sex offender.

    Another juror helped a niece who told her about being molested by a family member.

    A juror from Solvang works as a horse trainer and riding instructor, and a Santa Maria juror uses a wheelchair and is studying to be a motor-sports journalist.

    One juror’s first language is Spanish, while another first learned to speak Indonesian.

    Several jurors are in their early 20s, and most are middle-aged or senior citizens. No jurors are between the ages of 22 and 39.

    Most have at least some college education, and some have postgraduate degrees. Eight of the jurors are parents, but most have grown children.

The SM Times has a complete breakdown of the jurors here.

Prosecutors used peremptory challenges to eliminate two black women from the pool, including a 51-year-old Lompoc woman who complained that her husband, a retired Santa Barbara County deputy sheriff, was denied promotions within the department because he was black. She also questioned the racial composition of the jury pool.

“Just look around us. A jury of his peers would be people of his age and people of color, mixed diversity,” she said. “How diverse is this jury looking to you right now?”

Jackson reportedly nodded in approval at many of the woman’s comments.

I understand and sympathize with the woman’s underlying point, but there is no little irony in the fact that Jackson has voluntarily mutated himself into a cohort of one. Who, exactly, would his “peers” be? Where would they find twelve fabulously wealthy, deracinated cosmetic surgery victims?

Judge Melville also said several more names had been added to the witness list, including Eddie Murphy, Macaulay Culkin and Smokey Robinson.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    I’m amazed that someone whose grandson is a registered sex offender was be chosen for the jury. Can she be impartial if someone in her family has been convicted of — or admitted to — a similar crime?

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    BTW, I think racial, socio-economic, age, etc. diversity on the jury is important no matter who the defendant is. I think this jury got a lot of that except for race.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Thanks for the link, which works here, Eric!

    I think this jury got a lot of [diversity] except for race, bhw? Does diversity only count if there is a black on the jury? The description in the linked article sounded really diverse to me.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    DrPat, did you read what I wrote and what you quoted? I referred to diversity in age, socio-economic status, race, and then added an “etc.”

    Then I said that the jury got a lot of diversity, except for race. If there are only whites on the jury, is there racial diversity?

    What’s the problem?

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    From the article: The panel ranges in age from 20 to 79, and includes whites, Latinos and one Asian… A black man is in the current pool of prospective alternates.

    You “referred to” diversity by saying it was important. Since there are not only whites on the jury, I took exception to your implication that it is not diverse in the matter of race.

    So, yes, I not only read what you wrote, I also clicked the links and read the articles. Did you?

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    I read only Eric’s post, which includes this line:

    “Just look around us. A jury of his peers would be people of his age and people of color, mixed diversity,” she said. “How diverse is this jury looking to you right now?”

    That comment implies that there are no people of color at all. I don’t always read all the links in BC posts.

  • J

    Although there is racial diversity of the jury, I don’t feel that the jury is diverse enough. The jury does not look good as far as diversity is concerned. There should have been at least one African American on that jury.

  • Eric Olsen

    it would have been “nice,” I agree, but how do you ensure something like that short of quotas?

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Several potential jurors who are black were removed for various reasons, including the source of the quote in Eric’s post: a 51-year-old Lompoc woman who complained that her husband, a retired Santa Barbara County deputy sheriff, was denied promotions within the department because he was black. She also questioned the racial composition of the jury pool.

    I don’t know that scrupulously insuring that at least one person of the same ethnic as the accused constitutes a jury of his peers. For Jacko, it makes equal sense to complain that not one celebrity is on the jury.

  • Eric Olsen

    or not one fabulously wealthy, deracinated cosmetic surgery victim

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    or not one former child star who has accused his/her male parent of abuse…

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t think even ONE of them has been married to Lisa Marie Presley

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    They didn’t even TRY to get one who has a pet chimpanzee. Or knows Liz Taylor.

    No baby-dandlers, either. Come to think of it, I’m coming to agree with the Lompoc woman. “How diverse is this jury looking to you right now?”

  • Eric Olsen

    taking all of these critical variables into account: not very. It seems to be a pretty good representative sampling of Santa Barbara County, however