La Salle High School film student gets close-up view of Murray trial
La Salle High School student Allison “Allie” Shadian had the rare opportunity to film sections of the courtroom of Judge Michael Pastor that were not allowed to be shown on television during the Dr. Conrad Murray trial for the death Michael Jackson.
Her “behind the scenes” view of the trial aired on LTV (Lancer TV), the school’s student television program, on Tuesday (Nov. 8), the day after Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
The 17-year-old Pasadena resident dashed out of school after the verdict was read on Monday to film the closing of her LTV film on the trial and media circus. She made her final edits at school early Tuesday morning, and the film was uploaded onto the school’s website.
During the filming of her project, she was given enviable access to the courtroom and media room. Judge Pastor allowed her to film inside the empty courtroom before the trial resumed on the 15th day of the seven-week trial. She listened to the testimony of the prosecution’s expert witness, Dr. Steven Shafer, who literally wrote the book on Propofol, the anesthetic that caused Jackson’s death.
She was allowed to film the empty jury box, the cameras and control center for the live television feeds for the media pool, and the gallery seats where the media and public sat. She also filmed the inner workings of the courthouse media room and the circus outside the courtroom where Michael Jackson fans and supporters of Conrad Murray faced off. She interviewed one fan, a Michael Jackson impersonator who traveled from England to see the trial.
“The fans were lined up and waited for the Jackson family. It was a sea of people,” recalled the La Salle senior. She began studying film and digital media at the Pasadena school as part of its four-year Visual and Performing Arts program.
When the court was ready to resume, she stowed her camera and took her seat in the courtroom gallery in same row as Randy Jackson and Rebbie Jackson, the late pop icon’s brother and sister.
How did a La Salle student gain such access?
It helped that her grandfather is Judge Lance Ito, the judge who presided over the O.J. Simpson trial, and that a family friend is KABC news reporter Miriam Hernandez, who brought Allie to court that day after Allie received her media pass.
The day before she went to the courthouse, Judge Ito gave Allie a quick tutorial in what to expect – “It was like Law 101,” she said.
And she knew to respect the court.
“Judge Pastor said I had to film everything I needed before the trial started,” she said.
The LTV program, she said, has taught her how to structure a film, shoot it and edit it. “I’m really getting comfortable editing, now,” she said.
And with filming a news event, she learned how to turn on a dime.
“I learned that the courtroom is under strict control – no cellphones, no cameras. And I was surprised by the combat that takes place in court,” she recalled. “I also saw the pressure on the reporters covering a big story. They really have to be on top of it, and they must act quickly to get a good story.”
Her video can be seen on YouTube under the title, “Behind the Scenes at the Conrad Murray Trial” by Allison Shadian.