September 2nd, 2004 Source:
No Bail Reduction in Michael Jackson Case
For the second time Judge Rodney Melville refused to reduce the $3 million bail in the Michael Jackson case after an appeals court asked him to revisit the issue.
Citing justification such as Mr. Jackson´s wealth and his world travel, Judge Melville also wrote "The Grand Jury transcript provides detailed evidence that (the) defendant sought to arrange for the "Doe" family to travel to Brazil, and the statements of the "Doe" family are that this was being done against their will."
"Jackson has no prior criminal record, but this factor is at least partially offset by the allegation that he has previously engaged in similar criminal conduct - the prosecution of which may have been derailed by a private settlement with the alleged victim."
"Defendant has the financial ability to hire private jets and has frequently traveled beyond the borders of the United States," Melville said.
"While on bail, he received his passport back to travel to England. Although defendant subsequently returned his passport to law enforcement, he may request his passport again for international travel before the January 31, 2005 trial date."
"No amount less than $3 million dollars would provide a financial incentive to return and appear for hearings and trial."

Source: Reuters/MJJForum

August 29th, 2004 Source:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL would like to congratulate Michael Jackson on his 46th birthday. I wish you all the best in the future, and hope you will have a great day with your family.

August 23rd, 2004 Source:

Santa Barbara Authorities Testify in Evidentiary Hearing

During a crucial evidence hearing on Monday, the prosecution in the child molestation case against entertainer Michael Jackson wound up its presentation by calling on two law enforcement officers to counter testimony given by Jackson employees about the raid of Neverland.
District attorney Investigator Jalaine Hogue testified that during the search, she interviewed Joseph Marcus, property manager for Jackson. According to her testimony, Marcus never expressed an unwillingness to be interviewed, nor did he complain about the scope of the search.
Hogue also testified that Marcus never mentioned that Jackson attorney Steve Cochran´s demands for admittance during the search. Marcus had last week testified that the attorney was at the gate of the estate seeking entrance at the time.
Under defense cross-examination, Hogue acknowledged there were four teams of inquisitors assigned to interview those on the property, and that she was assigned to question Marcus and a maid.
Hogue added that before the search commenced, sheriff´s detectives gathered she and others and gave them a packet of information relating to the allegations, including a list of questions to ask Jackson´s employees. This material, defense attorneys indicated, has not yet been turned over to them.
Sheriff´s Lt. Russell Birchim, who is in charge of court security, was the second witness. He said he was involved in the 1993 search of Neverland and was consulted by District Attorney Thomas Sneddon prior to the 2003 search in order to determine the location of certain buildings.
Birchim testified that he helped Sneddon locate what he believed to be the security office, but acknowledged that his memory was vague after ten years. He also spoke of a report he had written ten years ago on the 1993 search, but did know where the report was now.
The prosecution is attempting to overcome defense testimony that implies authorities seized items from areas of Neverland, which were not specified in the presented search warrant. The disputed items are not publicly known since most search warrant affidavits have remained under seal.
The defense intended to show that Santa Barbara County officials exceeded the scope of the issued warrant on Jackson´s ranch. A final ruling on this issue is not expected until next month. However, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville issued a tentative ruling to allow dozens of items seized from Neverland and the office of private investigator Bradley Miller to be admitted.
Melville said he had concerns about other items and could possibly suppress them. He would not be issuing a definitive ruling until September to give both prosecution and defense attorneys time to file written arguments.
Also on Monday, Melville ruled that Sneddon did not violate the court-imposed protective order when he addressed district attorneys during a conference in Vancouver, Canada.
Sneddon had been quoted as having said that he sent letters to people telling them they were potential witnesses in the Jackson case so that they would not speak to the media. The prosecutor later said he did not send letters to anyone who will not be called as a witness.
Melville cautioned all attorneys to turn down public appearances.

Source: AP/Reuters/MJJForum

August 21st, 2004 Source:
Neverland Staff Testify
Neverland Valley Ranch managers testified Friday that Sheriff’s deputies overstepped the boundaries of their warrant in the search of superstar Michael Jackson’s California home.
In the continuation of the singer’s pre-trial hearings, Property Manager Joseph Marcus and Security Manager Violet Silva testified that authorities searched areas not listed in the warrant.
Defense lawyers, led by Thomas Mesereau, are contending that evidence seized in raids on Neverland and the office of private investigator Bradley Miller should be ruled inadmissible.
The warrant for the Neverland raid, conducted by some 40 officers on November 18, included a search of a building next to the main house. Described in the warrant as “security headquarters,” it housed a small security office as well as Jackson’s private office, an apartment and a video library.
Property Manager Marcus, who oversees Neverland’s 60 employees, testified that he initially cooperated with Sheriff’s deputies after studying the search warrant. He admitted to giving the deputies access to certain areas not listed no the warrant.
"They were doing an initial sweep of the buildings to secure the area and make sure no one was in the buildings,” testified Marcus. “They did the sweep, but then decided they wanted to search. I objected because it was not in the scope of the search warrant."
Marcus unlocked doors for the deputies, as "they were going to drill it if I didn´t open it, so I did." He further testified that Deputy Jeff Klipakis told him he would have the search warrant amended to cover these areas.
In his testimony, however, Lt. Klipakis denied having said this. "He told me he didn´t feel the warrant covered that office," he said. "I told him that was my decision, and we were going to make an entry into the office, and he used his keys to open it."
"Why would I be talking to (Jackson employees) about what my plans are going to be?" he asked.
Marcus further testified that he had asked Santa Barbara District Attorney, Thomas Sneddon, to allow Steve Cochran access to the ranch during the raid. Sneddon told him “that’s not possible.” Cochran is one of Jackson’s attorneys and had been waiting outside Neverland’s front gates.
Security Manager, Violet Silva, confirmed in her testimony that deputies told her the warrant would be amended.
"I shouted out ´did you get that addendum?´" Silva testified, saying the deputy shrugged her off, indicating the amendment had not been obtained.
She also testified that Lt. Klapakis later told her, "Just consider the whole building a security office."
During the proceedings, prosecutors portrayed Jackson as being obsessed with security and suggested he used his private office to personally monitor the ranch. They said Jackson’s bedroom had been set up with surveillance equipment and an alarm system.
Defense Attorney Robert Sanger also introduced a number police reports as evidence. The reports referred to Neverland employees being "detained" or "secured" for questioning.
Klapakis testified that employees were not forced into answering questions but were brought to the ranch house in order to determine who was on the property. "People were free to come and go once we identified them," he said.
Also on Friday, Judge Melville ordered the mother of Jackson’s accuser to testify on September 17. She had been unavailable to testify this week after giving birth in July.
A further hearing has been scheduled for Monday to conclude defense testimony on their motion to suppress evidence.
Melville said his rulings would be postponed until after this testimony.

Source: AP/Santa Maria Times/Santa Barbara News-Press/MJJForum