After having been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death music legend Michael Jackson earlier this month, Dr. Conrad Murray was sentenced on Nov. 29 to four years in the Los Angeles County jail, the maximum sentence allowed under the law.
According to CNN, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor delivered a lengthy statement before handing down his sentence, explaining that he thought long and hard in deciding a fair punishment for Murray.
“There are those who feel Dr. Murray is a saint,” Judge Pastor said. “There are those who feel Dr. Murray is the devil. He’s neither. He’s a human being. He stands convicted of the death of another human being.”
Though Murray has been sentenced to four years in jail, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said that Murray will likely be released sometime in 2013 due to automatic credit for good behavior, which lowers Murray’s sentence to two years. However, Murray is not eligible for early release electronic monitoring or house arrest. “He does not meet our requirements for any kind of home monitoring,” Whitmore said.
Despite this news, the Jackson family seemed happy about the ruling. Earlier in the day, the family’s lawyer read a statement to Pastor from the family, which stated they were “not here to seek revenge,” but they wanted a sentence that “reminds physicians that they cannot sell their services to the highest bidder and cast aside their Hippocratic oath to do no harm.”Jackson’s three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, were also included in the statement, saying, “We will grow up without a father, our best friend, our playmate and our dad.”
During the court proceedings, Murray’s defense lawyer, Ed Chernoff, admitted that probation was an unlikely sentencing for Murray, but argued that his client would better earn his penance through community service instead of jail time.
“He could do things for the community on probation that he could never do sitting in that little room,” Chernoff said, also arguing that Murray will have to forever suffer with being labeled as the man that killed Michael Jackson.
“Whether he is a barista the rest of his life, whether he is a greeter at Walmart, he’s still going to be the man who killed Michael Jackson for the rest of his life,” Chernoff said.
However, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren strongly argued for the maximum sentence, saying Murray was “playing Russian roulette with Michael Jackson’s life every single night,” by using the surgical anesthetic propofol to put him to sleep in “a reckless, obscene manner.”
Walgren also cited a taped interview done nine days before Murray was found guilty, in which the cardiologist showed no sign of remorse for Jackson’s death.
“I don’t feel guilty, because I did not do anything wrong,”Murray said.
Pastor subsequently sided with Walgren and gave a 30-minute explanation for his sentence.
“Yikes! Talk about blaming the victim,” he said. “Not only isn’t there any remorse, there’s umbrage and outrage on the part of Dr. Murray against the decedent, without any, any indication of the slightest involvement in this case.”
Pastor added that Jackson died “not because of an isolated one-off occurrence or incident. He died because of a totality of circumstances which are directly attributable to Dr. Murray … because of a series of decisions that Dr. Murray made.”
Pastor set a hearing for Jan. 23 to decide on the prosecution’s request that Murray be ordered to pay Jackson’s estate and his children more than $100 million in restitution for the “wage and profits lost.”
After the sentence was handed down, The Jackson Family shared their happiness over Pastor’s decision while outside of the court.
“Well, four years is not enough for someone’s life, it won’t bring him back, but at least he got the maximum, I thought the judge was very, very, very fair, and I thank him. I said, four years won’t bring my son back, but that’s the law, so the judge gave him the maximum,” said Jackson’s mother, Katherine, accompanied by son, Jermaine, who said “100 year was not enough” for Dr Murray. Sister, LaToya, added that, “justice was done.”
Indeed, justice has been done, or at least served. Let us know what you think about Murray’s sentence below and check out five other controversial court cases as well. – nicholas robinson