The defense attorney for Michael Jackson physician Conrad Murray has asked the judge about sequestering the jury 24/7 during the doctor’s trial on manslaughter charges. J. Michael Flanagan added, presumably tongue in cheek, “…or at least during the hours Nancy Grace in on TV.”
It’s a funny line, but raises the larger issue of whether isolating juries during high profile trials has become more necessary now that blanket media coverage is a fact of life. The last time a Los Angeles Superior Court jury was sequestered was during the O. J. Simpson trial. Judges don’t like to order it, knowing what a hardship it is on jurors, not to mention significant governmental expense. A formal request to sequester the Murray jury has yet to be filed.
Thursday morning on AirTalk, we’ll look at research about how jury sequestration affects verdicts and ask listeners when, if ever, it should be required.