Lessons from the Michael Jackson trial

The Michael Jackson trial has reminded me that: a. Juries can make remarkably sensible decisions. As is clear from the post-trial interviews, several jurors thought it quite likely that Jackson had behaved inappropriately with his house-guests, but that the prosecution had not proven the case. This shows that the jury understood its responsibility and took it seriously. b. There is an important distinction, which our media ignore, between "the public interest" and "things the public is interested in". While the public is clearly fascinated by Michael Jackson, this is essentially a private matter between him and the family of the boy he was accused of molesting. It is completely inappropriate for this to be front page news and to lead the TV news. c. There is no good reason for the UK’s absurd rules that prevent jurors from explaining after a trial why they decided as they did. American justice has been enhanced, not degraded, by the jurors’ willingness to explain their decision in this case.

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