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November 8, 2011

You make the call: what is a fitting sentence for Conrad Murray?

The latest celebrity trial resulted yesterday in a guilty verdict, meaning it is now time to start talking about sentencing of Conrad Murray, the doctor deemed criminal responsible for the death of the King of Pop.  This AP article sets forth the California state sentencing background:

Dr. Conrad Murray faces a sentence ranging from probation to four years in prison in the death of Michael Jackson.  Some of the factors related to sentencing:

— Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor would have complete discretion to decide the sentence.  He would receive a probation department report on Murray recommending a sentence.  Both prosecution and defense attorneys also would file recommendations. But the decision would be his and his alone.

— The judge could consider that Murray is a defendant with no prior criminal record, a circumstance that might mitigate in favor of probation.

— Because of AB109, a recent California prison realignment bill, Murray probably would not go to state prison.  If given a prison sentence, he would most likely serve it in the county jail because of prison overcrowding.  There has been speculation that he would be allowed to serve a term of house arrest.

— The penal code calls for a convicted defendant to be sentenced in 20 days, but he could waive that time while his attorneys prepare a motion for new trial and an appeal.  He could remain free on bail during that period.

— Murray would lose his medical license.

November 8, 2011 at 07:54 AM | Permalink


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Not a criminal who will hurt people if loose on the street. A cardiologist, but willing to go to extremes when paid enough, careless, going outside his area of competence. Did chest compressions on a bed, not a hard floor. Thereby compressing a mattress, not the heart. Maddening carelessness for a person with training at that level.

The judge should ask that a cardiologist review his work outside the Jackson case. If generally adequate, long hours of community service providing cardiology services to people without insurance or money. A vacation in jail seems costly as a tax burden and waste of professional ability. After a period of adjustment to confinement, jail might not even be punitive, but rest and relaxation. Get up late, eat. Rest. Partake of various activities. Sounds more like a cruise than punishment. However, if a cardiologist finds that his clinical judgment is a threat to other patients, some incapacitation is a good idea.

The verdict makes his negligence one that is per se. The Jackson family will likely win a tort verdict above his medmal insurance limit.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 8, 2011 8:58:43 AM

This is a question to the legal minds. Since the judge waited until after the defense presented its case, which was entirely based on the fact that Michael Jackson did this to himself, to inform the jury that even if Michael Jackson did it to himself, they could still find Murray guilty of involuntary manslaughter - which they did, isn't this a good appeal issue? It seems to me that the defense wasted time and effort on this strategy whereas if the judge had told them in the beginning that this strategy would basically moot, they may have come up with a different strategy or even tried for a plea deal?

Posted by: msyoung | Nov 8, 2011 12:08:52 PM

I meant to say "was" basically moot.

Posted by: msyoung | Nov 8, 2011 12:09:59 PM

For manslaughter they had to have a pretty good idea what the instructions on that issue were going to be, so no, I doubt that will be a good appeal point.

As for sentencing, he's a felon and we all know my default stance there. Is he ready to prove why he should not be executed?

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Nov 8, 2011 12:30:52 PM

Sentence Murray to prison and then put him in charge of death row.

Posted by: Daniel | Nov 8, 2011 2:03:15 PM


Love your response!

PS: Has your letter to the Texas Justice System regarding who are those classified as SOs received any meaningful response? I mean, I care about keeping Bill properly informed.

I know that that does not apply to this post, but I was accused of not accepting his answer on a totally different post.

Posted by: albeed | Nov 8, 2011 11:02:37 PM

After a bit of back and forth they did provide an answer yesterday. I was wrong, Texas does not have a dual system based on offenses. The only offenders not listed publicly are based on their own attributes (generally certain juvenile offenders from what I was told) or because incomplete information was provided, not based on the offense committed. There are about 1100 offenders who are not publicly listed, and about 67000 who are publicly listed. Given that information I would say that whatever work law enforcement has in TX, it is not increased markedly by non-public registrants.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Nov 8, 2011 11:50:32 PM

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