Thursday saw the judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial increase the security around the case.
Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge, Rodney Melville, opted to continue to seal the grand jury materials plus requests for the release of other evidence.
He had previously "teased" the media and public, at the last hearing, by saying that he would consider the release of the grand jury indictment and the grand jury transcript.
However, in a volte face he said that he had reviewed the material again; and decided to keep all of it sealed. His main concern is the integrity of the jury pool.
The media do not see it this way though, their lawyers had petitioned to have the names of the unindicted co-conspirators and 28 overt acts listed in the indictment released. They also wanted the transcripts of the grand jury hearings released.
Judge Melville indicated that he may well seal the entire transcript until the trial of Michael Jackson is over.
I wonder how "untainted" the jury pool really is, given the saturation media coverage? This may be a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
It goes without saying that not everyone agrees with his ruling. Some ask why should Michael Jackson get special First Amendment treatment.
Additionally, it has been pointed out, that in the O. J. Simpson case (10 years ago) there was full disclosure and he still got off.
In my view this ruling could backfire, the seal will act as a "Pandora's box" increasing peoples' curiosity to find out what exactly is being hidden from them. The conspiracy theorists will have a ball.