Conrad Murray (Michael Jackson)Trial: Jury Favor Defense or Prosecution?Posted: September 24, 2011
Does it matter who is on the jury in the Conrad Murray/Michael Jackson Manslaughter Trial? ABSOLUTELY! Just ask Casey Anthony or OJ Simpson.
After picking over 100 jury panels myself as a trial attorney and having trained thousands of attorneys in the “skill” of jury selection, jury selection is critical. If the juror doesn’t identify with your client, the victim and/or can’t be emotionally moved by the evidence, good luck to you.
Without having seen the rapport between the jurors and the lawyers during the lawyers questioning of the jurors, and how the jurors reacted to each others answers among many other factors, let’s just take a look at the initial jury data reported by TMZ. Putting aside how you feel about Dr. Murray or Michael, and given that we haven’t heard any evidence yet, does the jury data tell us anything about how they will vote?
Here’s the Murray Jury: (I have compiled and sorted the initial jury data and added my comments)
7 men. 5 women. 1 African-American. 6 whites. 5 mexican or hispanic. 5 in their 50’s. 4 in their 40’s. 2 in their 30’s.
Property manager. Partner in management consulting firm (foreperson?). College professor (animation). Communications head for international marketing firm. 30 yr paralegal (foreperson?). USPS letter carrier. School bus driver. Customer service rep. TV technical director (foreperson?). Unemployed. And, a Book seller. (Good mix of occupations, surprised, paralegal didn’t get bumped, lawyers generally are head-shy of legal professionals)
8 of 12 are “fans” of Michael Jackson. (Generally, favors Prosecution.)
5 of 12 either work or family member works in medical field. (Could hurt the defense? Many people may believe drugs over-prescribed by doctors, may hold doctors to a higher standard)
7 of 12 with prior jury service. 1 child sex abuse (incest) case juror. (Generally, favors Prosecution unless mostly acquittal verdicts. May not be swayed by media coverage or lawyers “theatrics”, know the rules of the road)
4 of 12 believe “famous or wealthy treated differently in court system”. (Definitely, a head wind for the defense)
3 of 12 watched OJ or Casey Anthony Trial. (Could go either way, but familiar with an acquittal verdict option, possible backlash from Anthony acquittal)
2 reality show watchers (Project Runway, Big Brother, etc) (Could go either way)
2 Crime show watchers (NCIS, Law & Order) (May hold Prosecution to a higher burden)
1 Howard Stern listener. 1 NPR Listener. 1 Ryan Seacrest listener. (Don’t you just love America!)
1 filed for bankruptcy. 1 unemployed. (Could favor Defense if Murray had financial problems but not if dodged ’em)
And, 7 of 12 with drug addiction in the family. 1 convicted of a DUI. (May favor defense, however, addiction is complex. Manipulative personality? do anything for drugs or view as brain disease? Could go either way, although my sense addiction may create sympathy for Michael?)
Even considering a jurors occupation, or what they watch on TV, we can never know how a juror will vote. But, hopefully, we uncover their biases which preclude them from being “fair and impartial”.
Yet, we are still left with the elephant in the room. Assuming the apparent defense, that Michael ingested himself, Murray still admitted he gave Michael propofol and others drugs which the medical examiner believes caused Michael’s death. Should a doctor be giving drugs to an addict? On those facts alone, simply a tough case for the defense. Although, it appears they may have picked a balanced jury.
Simply my opinion, WHAT SAY YOU?
Has the Defense found that “one juror” to acquit Murray? Has the Prosecution found 12 jurors who can vote together to convict?