A courtroom flap arose Wednesdayin the molestation case of Northridge private elementary school owner Campbell Hugh Greenup when the prosecutor requested that prospective jurors disclose whether they, as adults, have ever had a sexual relationship with anyone under 18 years of age.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Horowitz, after changing the age on the proposal for a questionnaire to 14, agreed to grant Deputy Dist. Atty. Kenneth R. Freeman's unusual request.
Before the judge's ruling, Greenup's lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Henry J. Hall, called the proposal "improper and degrading . . . McCarthyism."
Hall maintained that asking prospective jurors whether they are child molesters is legally questionable, since a "yes" answer would amount to self-incrimination.
"It's basically asking for a confession of a crime," Hall said.
He asked the judge whether each prospective panelist would be supplied a lawyer and read his Miranda rights against self-incrimination before filling out the questionnaire.
Horowitz replied that Miranda rights do not apply, since the jury candidates are not in custody.
Freeman, however, said he could not rule out possible criminal investigation of jurors who admitted having sex with minors.
"My purpose is not to find people to prosecute," he emphasized. "It's to exclude people from the jury who would be biased and prejudiced. A child molester would be prejudiced."
" . . . (But) it's impossible to speculate what would happen as a result of an in-court admission without knowing what that admission is."
The six-page questionnaire, designed to speed the jury selection process, will be handed to 250 prospective panelists scheduled to be called today for the re-trial of Greenup, who is charged with fondling seven female students between 1978 and 1984.
Greenup's first trial ended in a mistrial last May when jurors said they were deadlocked on 19 separate counts.