Have you been watching the drama unfold? The court case of the year: The People vs Dr. Conrad Murray—The doctor that allegedly killed Michael Jackson. All of the witnesses and all of the evidence, for all of us to see, go parading across social media channels everywhere. There’s a live stream direct from the courthouse in Los Angeles with a live stream of opinions to boot. Never before have we been privy to live stream, with live commentary, with such a big case. The Casey Anthony case was big, but this is the King of Pop we are talking about here.
Witness after witness takes the stand to recant their memories of what happened that fateful day on June 25, 2009. Play-by-play and commentary from spectators inside and outside the courtroom, fans from all over the world, journalists and gossip sites, all together, are exploding onto Twitter, Facebook, blogs and message boards worldwide. Everyone has an opinion—whether they agree that Michael Jackson was murdered, killed himself or is laughing at all of us from some far off island with Elvis, alive as can be—and they aren’t afraid to share it.
In today’s new social media world, jury selection includes questioning to find out if the prospective juror is a friend of the defendant on any social networking sites. Back in the day, a friend was someone with whom you had a close personal relationship. Today, “Friending” someone on any given social media channel is just a casual, drive-by, relationship in a stalker kind of way!
During jury selection for the Michael Jackson case, the judge told potential jurors they were not to send or read tweets, or look up information on Google. If they did, they could be found in contempt of court and jailed. I’m pretty sure that any jury member in this situation would come out more confused if he or she did research this case online. There’s nothing black or white about this entire case.
The question is how can anyone receive a fair trial in this age of social media, in an economy where it costs too much to sequester the jury? Does Dr. Conrad Murray even have a fighting chance in this case? Or does the shadow of doubt cast upon the case by such an opinionated social media world, create enough holes to let him walk out a free man? Has social media allowed us to be hit by a smooth criminal?
Discuss! Tell me what you think below with your comments.
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