TMZ is reporting today that the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray in California, where he is facing manslaughter charges in the death of Michael Jackson, will be televised.
Now, I recognize that if there's gonna be any place in the country where putting stuff on the screen seems like no big deal, it's Los Angeles. And I understand that there's a lot of profit here by doing so -- big audience, big advertising dollars, I get it.
I still don't know that this is a good idea. First of all, the job of the defense is to air a lot of dirty laundry. Yes, Michael Jackson will be tried in this case -- it's a strategy honed by my mentor Racehorse Haynes long ago, in the Cullen Davis murder trial.
No smart criminal defense attorney is going to forego introducing as much evidence as possible that puts Jackson in a bad light in defense of Dr. Murray's actions that day. It's gonna happen. (There's already scuttlebutt about a Michael Jackson suicide defense.)
Not fair to his kids. Not fair to his mom. Won't matter. We're going to learn things that will hurt them in this trial, and it's gonna go all over the world instantaneously in this televised trial.
Meanwhile, there are all those conspiracy theories out there (yes, there are Michael Jackson sightings now) as well as the potential of new ones if this trial is not put out there for public scrutiny. People may debate the trial in its aftermath, but they'll have the evidence presented and that's a different scenario than the omission of cameras and worldwide suspicions of evildoing in the courtroom. This is a plus to televising this thing.
However, I'm not a fan of televised trials. Perhaps in the early days, when the process was put onto our screens in sort of a CSpan approach -- but now, it's become so much more akin to reality TV.
Trial by media is a real concern, as well. Can Dr. Murray get a fair trial? I don't know, but if he's convicted there is that possible appellate argument.
Do the pros outweigh the cons? I don't think so in this case. In my opinion, Dr. Murray's trials should not be televised.