Jackson Jurors Return To Deliberations - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/8/05-SANTA MARIA, California

Jackson Jurors Return To Deliberations

 Jurors in Michael Jackson's child molestation went back to work Tuesday to begin a third day of deliberations over the singer's fate.

The jury of eight women and four men spent about two hours considering the case Friday and six hours Monday.

Sources said Juror No. 2 was elected as the jury's foreman. The man is a 63-year-old retired counselor and amateur artist from Santa Maria.

During the voir dire process to select a jury, the man said he believed child witnesses were generally trustworthy, although they might twist testimony "a bit" under pressure.

Meanwhile, attorneys for a consortium of media outlets, have asked Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville to release the verdict form provided to the jury and to disclose the contents of any questions the jury asks.

The court notified reporters Monday that jurors had asked a question, but the content of their query was not released.

In a motion filed with the court, attorneys for the media argued that jurors' questions "are as much a part of the court proceedings and the trial testimony and closing arguments," which take place in public.

Melville conducted a hearing in private to resolve the jury's question, according to the media consortium's motion, which asked that a transcript of the hearing be released immediately.

"The court barred the public from the courtroom during these proceedings without holding a hearing or making express findings that would justify this restriction on public access," the motion said.

The attorneys also argued that the verdict form, which "establishes the framework for any verdict by the jury," is a judicial record that is presumed to be public under the First Amendment and California law.

"Public access to the form now will enable the press to better understand and accurately report and explain the verdict when it is read in open court," the motion said.

Jackson was not at the Santa Maria courthouse Tuesday as jurors reconvened to ponder his fate. He is not required to attend deliberations, and his spokeswoman has said he planned to await the verdict with his family at Neverland ranch, about an hour away.

The jury is reviewing 14 weeks of testimony by more than 130 witnesses to determine whether the pop star is a sexual predator of young boys or a victim of a con.

A grand jury indicted Jackson in April 2004 on charges of child molestation and other crimes stemming from alleged incidents involving his accuser, then 13, and his family in February and March 2003.

Jackson pleaded not guilty to the charges and did not take the stand during the trial.

Powered by Frankly