Jackson gets jury summons, but will he go?

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[b]Jackson gets jury summons, but will he go?[/b] 10/20/05 By DAWN HOBBS NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER Singer requesting deferment Ronald Reagan got a deferment because he was president. But will the King of Pop get out of jury duty in Santa Barbara County? Michael Jackson, the world’s most famous criminal defendant, recently received a jury summons at his Neverland Valley Ranch, the News-Press learned Wednesday. But it seems unlikely that Mr. Jackson, who now lives in Bahrain, will become the world’s most famous juror. “He is permanently living outside of the United States,” said Thomas Mesereau, who defended the singer in his recent child molestation trial. To avoid any penalty for being a no-show for jury duty, Mr. Jackson’s lawyers have filed the necessary paperwork for a deferment. That doesn’t dampen speculation about the scene that would ensue if Mr. Jackson showed up for jury duty. “I’m sure he’d receive a warm welcome from the District Attorney’s Office,” joked Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola School of Law who monitored Mr. Jackson’s 4½-month trial in Santa Maria which ended in June with a full acquittal. “This would give a new meaning to the phrase ‘a jury of your peers,’ ” Ms. Levenson said. “This absolutely proves the system is random when it comes to selecting those who will receive jury summons.” People who deliberately avoid their civic duty may be found in contempt, fined up to $1,500 or even jailed. However, Jury Commissioner Gary Blair said it appears Mr. Jackson will be in the clear. “All he has to do is show he has legal residency somewhere else and he’ll be exempted,” Mr. Blair said. “It’s no big deal.” “The proper procedures are being followed,” Mr. Mesereau said. Mr. Jackson has been out of the country since his trial ended, but there is no indication he plans to get rid of his 2,000-acre bucolic estate. After the media circus generated during his trial, it would seem the county courts wouldn’t be so eager to invite him back. With the King of Pop seated in the jury box, even the most innocuous of cases would have brought an international spotlight to the Santa Maria courthouse again. Santa Ynez Valley resident actress Bo Derek has received jury summonses at least twice and even served on one jury without much hubbub. But the jury commissioner said the security surrounding President Reagan would have been a mess — as would another round with Mr. Jackson. “You’re not legally supposed to exempt someone just because they’re a celebrity,” Mr. Blair said. “I summoned Ronald Reagan when he was president but granted him a deferment until he was out of office.” Ms. Levenson noted: “It’s just one of those ironies of life that he’d be called as a juror. But on a more serious note, if I were a criminal defendant, I’d welcome him with open arms. “He’s been through the system, and I’m sure he appreciates the presumption of innocence more than any other person who might be called for jury service.” Source: http://news.newspress.com/topsports/102005jackson.htm

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