A Los Angeles judge imposed the maximum sentence against the doctor convicted of killing superstar Michael Jackson, accusing him of being “reckless” and calling him a “danger to the community.”
Conrad Murray was sentenced to four years in the L.A. County Jail after being denied probation by Judge Michael Pastor. The former physician could not be housed in the state penitentiary because of a new law prohibiting placing him there. However, the judge expressed his anger with Murray’s negligence and factored it in with his sentencing decision.
“Not only isn’t there any remorse, there is umbrage and outrage on the part of Dr. Murray against the decedent,” he snapped in the courtroom.
Murray did not stand to offer any statement to the court or to Jackson’s family. His lawyer Ed Chernoff, did speak of Murray’s record and of the people he has helped over the years. “I do wonder though to what extent the court considers the entirety of a man’s book of life, as opposed to one chapter,” Chernoff said.
The six-week trial resulted in an involuntary manslaughter conviction for Murray and the loss of his medical license. A jury was convinced that Murray was responsible for Jackson’s death by providing him with a lethal dosage of the anesthetic propofol. Jackson had said the drug was the only thing that would help with the insomnia and anxiety he suffered in the days and weeks he spent preparing to launch his “This Is It” tour.
Although Pastor gave Murray the maximum sentence, he will not serve time in the same manner as a violent criminal. Because of California’s Realignment Act of 2011, passed due to a U.S. Supreme Court order to address overcrowding in the state prison system, Murray was given time in the L.A. County Jail, and because of overcrowding there, it is not likely he will serve the entire sentence there.
“A warden in the county jail can make a determination as to who they can release,” Ellyn Garafolo, a Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney, told NewsFeed. She explained that the warden can make a judgement call on who is dangerous and who is safe to be released and “four years can turn into two months. “
Prosecutors are also trying to seek restitution from Murray for losses stemming from the cancellation of the “This Is It” tour, and Pastor is allowing a later restitution hearing but warned that the amount lost by cancelling the tour must be proven to the court.
Finally, although there is no official word on whether Murray plans to appeal, he has 60 days from his sentencing to do so. But Garafolo says it may be an uphill battle.
“In appeals they have to look for errors made by the judge, like excluding testimony that might have made a difference,” she said. “Criminal appeals are generally hard to win and by the time it works its way through the system, (Murray) will already have served his time.”