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Conrad Murray trial: Jury selection resumes

September 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Jury selection resumed Friday in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray.

Prospective jurors in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Jackson's doctor got a warning from the judge on Friday- stay away from the internet.

Jury selection has been a labor-intensive process, the court as of Friday has surveyed 370 potential jurors. 225 were dismissed because of hardship; the remaining 145 will go onto the next round.

Jurors selected will hear from a list of dozens of witnesses to find whether Murray involuntarily caused the death of the pop star with a lethal dose of the sedative propofol.

For a second day, a fifth floor assembly hall was converted into a courtroom to accommodate 145 potential jurors.

Judge Michael Pastor appealed to their sense of civic duty: "Young men and women are serving this country in some God-awful places- given the chance they would rather be serving jury duty."

Yet the judge also acknowledged a terrible economy- that many are too financially strapped to leave their jobs for a trial which could last more than 25 days.

Criminal law specialist George Bird says the court is challenged to find a balanced jury.

"Judges are asking jurors to take vacation, to take leaves of absences to serve," said Bird. "Because if we don't have a jury that has people from all walks of life of society, it is not a fair cross representation."

There is another appeal to the jury pool- to ignore international publicity about Jackson's death.

The preliminary hearing revealed details about how Jackson's children learned of the medical emergency. They are compelling and touching stories that will likely make headlines again.

"When you have a high publicity case, it becomes even harder for jurors to follow their oath and remain isolated and for the judge to make sure the process is absolutely sanitized to remove outside influences," said Bird.

The judge stressed the rules saying that anyone who is in violation could receive sanctions, fines or even jail time.

Jury selection resumes Sept. 23.

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