By Judge Greg Mathis
Dr. Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of super star entertainer Michael Jackson. With the verdict, the jury brought some level of closure to an event that stunned the world.
But the saga is not over yet. Murray’s sentencing hearing begins Nov. 29. He could receive anything from probation to up to four years in prison for his actions.
Many factors will go into Murray’s sentencing.
The prosecution will point out his refusal to take responsibility for his role in Jackson’s death ,and the emotional impact the crime has had on Michael’s family in an attempt to secure a longer sentence. Murray’s defense team will point to the absence of a criminal history and may argue that the doctor was pressured by Jackson to provide the deadly treatments.
Though it may be unthinkable, it is possible that Murray may not see any prison time.
California District Attorney Steve Cooley said that it would be difficult to appropriately sentence because of overcrowding in California’s prisons. Even if Murray does get jail time, a new California sentencing law that seeks to reduce overcrowding in prisons will ultimately affect the time he serves.
If sentenced to prison, Murray would most likely serve his time in county jail. That same overcrowding could also result in Murray being sentenced to house arrest.
As a doctor, Murray knew that what he was doing was unethical and was not in the best interest of the patient. By handing down the stiffest sentence possible, the judge would be demonstrating that it recognizes the long term effect Murray’s behavior will have on Jackson’s parents, siblings and, most importantly, his children.
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Judge Mathis is a longtime advocate for equal justice. His life story of a street youth who rose from jail to judge has provided hope to millions.