Michael Jackson Doctor Convicted Of Involuntary Manslaughter

A Los Angeles jury found Dr. Conrad Murray guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson on November 7, 2011. There were 22 days of testimony and 49 witnesses presented to the seven man and five woman jury. The jury deliberated for approximately 2 days before reaching their verdict. Dr. Murray, who is 58 years of age, faces a maximum of four years in prison and will lose his license to practice medicine in the State of California. It is unknown whether he will lose his license to practice medicine in Nevada, Hawaii, and Texas, but since he has now been convicted of a felony, it is likely that he will lose his license in those states as well.

The jury determined that Dr. Murray had been guilty of criminal negligence in providing Jackson with the powerful anesthetic propofol in an inappropriate setting, without the proper monitoring and resuscitative equipment available to be administering this medication normally used in surgical cases in a hospital setting. The prosecution argued that Murray was a greedy, incompetent doctor who was persuaded by a $150,000 monthly salary and the allure of being close with one of the world’s most well known entertainers. The defense had countered with the claim that Jackson was a well known drug addict who had in fact administered the fatal dose of propofol while Dr. Murray briefly left Jackson’s bedroom to use the bathroom, along with ingesting several pills of Lorazepam which Dr. Murray was unaware of.

The Los Angeles coroner ruled that Jackson’s death was caused by “acute propofol intoxication”, in conjunction with two other drugs, including Lorazepam. Dr. Murray certainly did not help his defense in speaking with Los Angeles police investigators two days after the June 25, 2009 death and acknowledging that at Jackson’s request, he had provided propofol to Jackson in his home for two months prior to his death. The most damming evidence against Dr. Murray was in all likelihood the fact that he did not have the proper resuscitative equipment, did not call 911 for twenty minutes (instead calling Jackson’s personal assistant first) and did not inform the 911 personnel that he had given Jackson propofol. He taped some of his conversations with Jackson when Jackson was under the influence of some sedative, which was a double edged sword. On the one hand, the tapes showed that Jackson was certainly complicit and actively requesting that Dr. Murray administer the propofol to help him fall asleep. On the other, the taped conversations raised questions as to Murray’s judgment in continuing to provide drugs which would cause Jackson to be incoherent and in need of serious help. Jackson apparently used the euphemism “milk” in repeatedly imploring Dr. Murray to give him propofol.

Dr. Murray’s counsel Ed Chernoff requested that Murray be allowed to remain free on $75,000 bail. However, Judge Michael Pastor noted that Murray was “now a felon convicted of homicide” and stated: “Dr. Murray’s’ reckless conduct in this case poses a demonstrable risk to the safety of the public”, in ordering that Murray be remanded to prison until his November 29, 2011 sentencing date.

With the overcrowding of the jails in the California penal system, with all non-violent inmates being transferred to county jail, it is unlikely that Murray will serve any significant time in prison, even if Judge Pastor does sentence him to the maximum of four years. For example, as was widely reported this week, Lindsay Lohan, who was sentenced to 30 days in jail on a probation violation, was brought to prison and then released the same day due to overcrowding. The more likely scenario is that Dr. Murray will end up serving one year of house arrest and no time in state prison.


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