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Criminal law: "Michael Jackson? Never heard of him."

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Ask most people in the street and they will be able to tell you who Michael Jackson was. They will know him either for his seminal music, his headline grabbing antics (such as dangling his baby over a hotel balcony in London), or for his time in court facing allegations of child abuse. Therefore a court in Los Angeles has the near-impossible task of finding twelve individuals who know nothing or very little about the undisputed king of pop in order to make up the jury when his doctor is charged with his death.

Conrad Murray, who was employed to take care of Michael Jackson's health in the run up to his final tour 'This Is It', is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The prosecution is alleging that Murray gave Michael Jackson a lethal dose of the surgical anaesthetic propofol. Murray has admitted giving Michael Jackson the drug in order to help him sleep as the star was suffering from chronic insomnia.

However, propofol is not supposed to be used as a sleeping aid. Traces of other sedatives were also found in the singer's body and were revealed by the autopsy.

Murray is claiming that Michael Jackson must have become so frustrated with his lack of sleep that he overdosed on the anaesthetic when the doctor was not looking on 25 June 2009.

However, witnesses on the scene said they saw Murray put empty bottles, an IV and phials into a bag.

The lawyers for the defence and prosecution have been ordered by Judge Michael Pastor to keep the jury selection process as tight as possible; he does not want any part of the 160-question juror questionnaire being leaked.

Each candidate must fill out the extensive questionnaire designed to test their knowledge of Michael Jackson and whether they hold any strong feelings or opinions regarding his music or his controversial lifestyle.

Each candidate will then be screened and the suitable candidates will be questioned face-to-face.

Related Links:

Read more on the story (the Times)
Learn more about trial by jury (FindLaw)
Find a local criminal law solicitor in your area (FindLaw)

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