State Supreme Court refuses to review conviction of Michael Jackson’s doctor

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Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray sits in a courtroom during his involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles Oct. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, Pool, File)

Michael Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray sits in a courtroom during his involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles Oct. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, Pool, File)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The California Supreme Court declined today to review the case against Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving singer Michael Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol.

Jackson died June 25, 2009, at age 50 while he was in Los Angeles and under Murray’s care, preparing for a series of 50 sold-out concerts in London.

Murray, now 61, was convicted in November 2011 and sentenced to four years behind bars. He was released from a Los Angeles County jail in October.

“I’m greatly disappointed,” Murray’s appellate attorney, Valerie G. Wass, said of the California Supreme Court’s decision to deny the defense’s petition seeking review of the case. “We intend to take it up to the federal court …”
Wass said she believed Murray has a “better chance of a favorable resolution” in federal court.

“I really believe that a juror could not go out in public and avoid hearing about the case,” Wass said of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor’s decision not to order jurors to be sequestered during the trial.

On Jan. 15, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld Murray’s conviction. Just under a month later, the same panel denied a defense petition seeking a re-hearing of the case, prompting the appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Wass contended in her petition that a review by the California Supreme Court was “necessary to address important and recurring questions of law.”

Those questions include whether the lower court erred in denying a request to sequester the jury, failing to exclude cameras from the courtroom, and allowing jurors to access the Internet and social media sites during trial.

“There was unprecedented global media coverage of the case. The trial was televised around the world, streamed live on the Internet, accessible on smartphone apps, and more than 2,200 reporters from around the world obtained credentials to cover the proceedings,” Wass wrote in her Feb. 24 filing with the California Supreme Court.

Wass detailed 21 questions for consideration by the high court, including whether the lower court should have ordered witnesses not to watch televised proceedings in the case and whether jurors could avoid being tainted by media coverage given their access to Facebook, Twitter and other online and mobile apps.

“The pervasiveness of modern digital media essentially made it impossible for a non-sequestered jury to have entirely avoided media coverage of the case,” Wass wrote in her filing.

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