FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2011 file photo, Dr. Conrad Murray, singer Michael Jackson’s personal physician, appears in Los Angeles Superior Court where Murray pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star’s 2009 death.A Los Angeles judge heard arguments Thursday on whether to sequester jurors hearing an involuntary manslaughter case against the pop singer's personal physician. (AP Photo/Irfan Khan, File)http://news.yahoo.com/judge-no-sequestering-jackson-manslaughter-jury-173816911.html

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurors in the upcoming involuntary manslaughter trial of the doctor charged in Michael Jackson’s death will not be sequestered, a judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Michael Pastor said it was not a close call when it came to deciding if jurors hearing the case should be kept from their daily lives during the four- to six-week trial.

Attorneys for defendant Dr. Conrad Murray had argued that sequestration was the only way to ensure a fair trial.

If the case involving the death of the King of Pop didn’t justify sequestration then there likely isn’t another case in which it’s warranted, attorney Ed Chernoff said.

Attorneys also cited widespread media coverage of the case and the likelihood that TV commentators such as Nancy Grace will cover the trial daily as reasons the jury should be protected.

Grace covered the Casey Anthony trial, which ended with a sequestered jury acquitting the Florida mother of killing her 2-year-old daughter. Grace and others made comments supporting a conviction.

Pastor said he trusted jurors to heed his admonitions about not reading or listening to news reports about the Jackson case. He said cost did not factor into his decision, although he said one estimate of the cost of sequestering jurors during the trial was more than $500,000.

The judge also cited accounts by jurors who have been sequestered in other cases who likened their lives during trial to those of inmates, ripped from their homes and under constant surveillance.

He said sequestered jurors have reported being so frustrated that the isolation “interfered with their fair assessment of the evidence and the law.”

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the Jackson case on Sept. 8, with opening statements slated for Sept. 27.

Murray could face four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Authorities have accused him of administering a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives in the bedroom of Jackson’s rented mansion on June 25, 2009.

Pastor has noted that a jury hasn’t been sequestered in Los Angeles since the O.J. Simpson murder trial.