Sentencing in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Doctor Conrad Murray took place in Los Angeles earlier today, following the decision from the jury three weeks ago that found Michael Jackson’s former physician guilty of causing the pop icon’s death.
But the story does not end here.
While Judge Michael Pastor didn’t mince his words and handed down the maximum possible sentence of four years behind bars, the actual amount of time the doctor will serve is still to be determined.
This is due to a recent change in California law that allows non-violent felony offenders to serve their time in county jail instead of state prison. Factor in issues like overcrowding, and officials are saying he would more than likely be released in two years, possibly even less.
What struck me most about listening to the judge was how he made it very clear that Murray, while not intending to kill Jackson, carried out a series of actions – an “unacceptable, egregious set of departures from medical ethics” – that resulted in his death. And he slammed those who believe that if it hadn’t been for Murray, another doctor would have fed MJ’s addiction, saying that is an insult to the medical profession. He finished with these words:
“It should be made clear that experimental medicine is not going to be tolerated. Michael Jackson was the experiment. That he took part doesn’t lessen the fact that Conrad Murray should have said no and just walked away, as many others did.”