Michael Jackson Trial Jurors – Observations

Some members of the jury, which acquitted “The King of Pop” of all 10 charges related to allegations that he molested a now-15-year-old boy, said they suspected the singer had molested other children but that prosecutors had not proven he had done anything illegal to the accuser in his trial.

During deliberations, jury foreman Paul Rodriguez said, he and other jurors frequently discussed the testimony they had heard about past allegations that Jackson had molested or behaved inappropriately with five other boys, including two youngsters who reached multimillion-dollar settlements with the singer in the 1990s.

But, Rodriguez said, the jurors knew they could not convict solely on the basis of past allegations.

“We couldn’t weigh that with this case in particular,” he said. “We all felt that he was guilty of something. But we feel that if he didn’t learn from this experience, then it’s up to another jury to convict him.”

ABC news story, 16th June 2005

I thought it might be interesting for readers to collate a bit of information about the 2005 trial jurors, it makes for fascinating reading and certainly contradicts a lot of fan “reasoning”.

I feel the most powerful factor in Jackson’s acquittal was the belief of the jury foreman, Paul Rodriguez, that there had to be physical evidence of molestation. That he was inflexible on that issue was a good thing for Jackson – acquaintance child molesters rarely leave any physical evidence. Rodriguez ignored all the circumstantial evidence:

Q. What did you think of “The Boy,” Michael Jackson’s collection of child porn?
A. Didn’t want to look at it, didn’t want it to influence my decision.

Q. Well you say, that you didn’t want it to influence your decision, it was entered into evidence, so, why not look at it?
A. No comment.[1]

He instead wanted a “smoking gun” to convict Jackson:

Q. How do you think jury’s convict people of child molestation/rape cases?
A. I think that if they convict they must convict beyond a reasonable doubt, there has to be a smoking gun, like a video, semen, you know… SOMETHING of substance. Not just testimony.[1]

A video or semen – not likely. Rodriguez was quite adamant as to what he would consider and he wouldn’t consider as evidence. In his mind, it was perfectly reasonable for him to rule out all the circumstantial evidence. In spite of that, Rodriguez still thought Jackson was a child molester:

I thought that Michael Jackson has molested boys in the past, and probably molested this boy, but as I said, what we believe doesn’t matter… the EVIDENCE has to PROVE IT.[1]

If we look at the trial verdict through the lens of Rodriguez’s reasoning, it all becomes clear why Jackson was found not guilty by the jury. Rodriguez’s insistence on a “smoking gun”, a “smoking gun” which was never presented by the prosecution and is rare in cases of molestation of this type, virtually guaranteed Jackson’s freedom.

Katharina Carls was another juror who had no doubt that Jackson was a child molester.

CARLS: Yes. It was very hard for me because I believed the boy and I believed that Michael is a child molester. And so I spent the whole weekend thinking about it, and I still cannot get past the reasonable doubt. There is (INAUDIBLE) reasonable doubt there, so I have to vote not guilty.

COSBY: But you just said to me that you believe Michael Jackson is a child molester, is that correct?
CARLS: That’s right.

COSBY: But you let him walk, based on the law, is what you’re saying.
CARLS: Well, I have to – I have to follow the law, yes, and the jury instruction.

COSBY: And you’re just saying that there just wasn’t enough evidence, based on what you looked at in the law?
CARLS: I – well, there – it’s just the family background. I kept asking myself, how – is there any slight possibility that this boy might lie at all? And my answer was yes. So I have to vote not guilty, even if there is a slight possibility.

COSBY: But still in your heart of hearts, you’re telling me that you believe Michael Jackson is a child molester.
CARLS: Yes. Yes, I do.[2]

So, that’s two of the jurors so far. We’ll move on to another two – Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook – who regretted acquitting Jackson. Whilst it could be said that their opinion is tainted because they had book deals, they are backed up by the two jurors above, Paul Rodriguez and Katharina Carls. Ray Hultman:

Q. What would you say to Michael Jackson?
A. Get it together your a grown man and you need to stop doing these things the jury found you not guilty but that does not mean you are innocent and we know that something is not right at neverland stop hanging around with little boys.[3]
“That’s not to say he’s an innocent man. He’s just not guilty of the crimes he’s been charged with.”[4]

Why did Hultman change his mind? Incredibly, peer group pressure!

Q. How finally were you convinced to change your vote to not guilty?
A. It was just like, fine get over it, I’ll go with the group, I was not about to have a hung jury because I spent 5 months of my life and no way was that all for nothing[3]

He said the prosecution presented ample evidence that Jackson had a pattern of inappropriate behavior with boys, but not with the boy who had accused him.

We had our suspicions, but we couldn’t judge on that because it wasn’t what we were there to do.” – Eleanor Cook[5]

These are the words of another juror, Eleanor Cook. Cook felt that she was bullied into voting not guilty. She said that the jury foreman threatened her off the jury, but Paul Rodriguez claims (referring to Cook and Hultman) “they kept making statements on the way their heart felt, what they thought, their hunch. And I told them we could not convict based on what they believe because of reasonable doubt.”[1] This fits perfectly with Rodriguez’s rigid view about having physical evidence. Cook says:

“No doubt in my mind whatsoever, that boy was molested, and I also think he enjoyed to some degree being Michael Jackson’s toy”[6]

By now you must be thinking what I’m thinking – what is it with this jury? If that isn’t enough, what is the propriety of a juror attending Jackson’s acquittal victory party?

Michael Jackson’s family and fans – and at least one of the jurors who acquitted him of child molestation – gathered Friday night for a huge party that was billed as a celebration of thanks. Among the approximately 400 people who arrived at the Chumash Indian Casino was juror Pauline Coccoz.[7]

Pauline Coccoz was one of the juror’s who expressed another part of the juror’s mindset when they decided to follow Paul Rodriguez’s lead:

“What mother in her right mind would … just freely volunteer your child to sleep with someone, and not so much just Michael Jackson but anyone, for that matter?”[8]

The implication was that Coccoz felt it wasn’t Jackson’s fault, it was the mother’s! Yet Ron Zonen, one of the prosecutors, made a very valid point about the mother:

“There have been a number of mothers whose children have spent enormous amounts of time in Michael Jackson’s bedroom. Of all of them, this particular mother was the one who got her kids out of there the fastest. She had her kids out of there within 36 hours after learning that Michael Jackson had been administering alcohol to her son.

I thought that was to her credit. She is poorly educated. She is a woman who has gone through many, many years of abuse by a very abusive husband. She shows all the manifestations of that kind of treatment in her, and yet she intuitively understood that she had to get her kids out of Neverland.

That was against all of the other mothers who have fed their children to Michael Jackson in exchange for the riches that that’s awarded them. I thought that this particular mother earned some credit by at least understanding intuitively that there was a problem there.” [9]

Even Tammy Bolton, another juror who previously was adamant that Jackson never molested anyone, wavered when Dan Abrams asked if Jason Francia’s testimony was powerful evidence:

“He was. I don’t if – you know, I really don’t know. I don’t know what to say about that. I don’t want to say I didn’t believe him. I can’t say that I did. I’m kind of torn in his testimony.” [9]

So, rather than Jackson being unequivocally being acquitted, we see that many of the juror’s had reservations about Jackson. Four of the twelve felt in their hearts that he was a child molester. Anyone who has followed this trial can see that it raised more questions than it answered, and that it proved that Jackson, at the very least, was a pedophile.[10]


[1] Interview with Larry Harriet, 8th October 2005, http://larryharrietlive.blogspot.com.au/2006/11/exclusive-interview-with-jackson-juror_28.html (Retrieved 5th January 2011)

[2]Interview with Rita Crosby, Rita Cosby Live & Direct broadcast 9th August 2005.

[3] Interview with Larry Harriet, 10th October 2005, http://larryharrietlive.blogspot.com.au/2006/11/raymond-hultman.html (Retrieved 5th January 2011)

[4]Interview with Associated Press, 13th June 2005.

[5]Associated Press, “Jurors acquit Jackson, not sure he’s innocent”, retrieved 7th May 2009.

[6]Associated Press, “2 jurors say they regret Jackson’s acquittal”, retrieved 7th May 2009.

[7]Associated Press, “Jackson family, friends gather for bash”, retrieved 7th May 2009.

[8]BET.com, “Michael Jackson free, verdict doesn’t acquit pop star in court of public opinion “, retrieved 7th May 2009.

[9]Interview on the Abrams Report, 14th June 2005.

[10]Google cache of definition of a boylover