*Dr Conrad Murray has been sentenced to the maximum four years in prison after being found guilty on a count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. But under California’s new Realignment law, the four years are reduced immediately to two years in country prison.
The sentencing was handed down by Judge Michael Pastor this morning at the Los Angeles County Courthouse. Explaining the state’s Realignment law, Pastor said, “The court does not have the legal authority to sentence Dr. Murray to state prison. The Realignment Act states certain offenses not to serve in state prison and involuntary manslaughter is one of those.”
Because Dr. Murray has no criminal history and because involuntary manslaughter is one of the non-violent crimes listed by the state of California, he is entitled to immediate home confinement due to prison overcrowding, and that will be determined by county prison officials.
Meanwhile, Michael’s parents Joe and Katherine, and siblings Jermaine, Rebbie, Randy and La Toya Jackson were in attendance this morning. Before sentencing, a brief statement was read on behalf of the entire Jackson family by their attorney Brian Panish.
“We are not here to seek revenge,” Panish said, reading from the statement. “The family respectfully requests a sentence that deters doctors from selling their services to the highest bidder and casting aside their Hippocratic oath to do no harm.”
Dr. Murray declined to speak at the sentencing, but his attorney Ed Chernoff spoke on behalf of the defense, reminding the court of his client’s “entire book” of life, not just the chapter relating to Michael Jackson.
During sentencing, Judge Pastor said: “Jackson died… of circumstances directly attributable” to Murray’s actions. A cycle of horrible medicine” took place, “the practice of ‘propofol for medicine’ madness which violated his sworn obligation for money, fame, prestige and whatever else may have occurred.
“The lies and deceit continued to build up an absolutely astounding set of circumstances.”
Pastor also had harsh criticism for Dr. Murray’s tape recording of Jackson in which the singer had slurred speech and appeared to be under the influence of a heavy sedative. Judge Pastor surmised that the recording “was Dr. Murray’s insurance policy designed to record his patient at his most vulnerable moment.”
“I can’t help but wonder if there had been some conflict at a later point in time in their relationship what value would be placed on that tape recording if the choice were to release that tape recording to a media organization to be used against Michael Jackson,” he said.
Judge Pastor also criticized Murray’s MSNBC documentary “Michael Jackson and the Doctor,” which he called a “faux documentary, faux reality production,” in which Murray says “I don’t feel guilty” over Jackson’s death and showed not just repeated lack of remorse, but referred to himself as the real victim in the case.
The next court date, regarding restitution matters, is Jan 23, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.