Update: L.A. Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore says Murray will likely serve “a little less than two years.” More dauntingly, the D.A. wants him to pay over $100 million to Michael Jackson's kids.
Also: remorseless BOOKING PHOTO at the bottom.
Judge Michael Pastor totally ripped into Michael Jackson's doctor, the infamous Dr. Conrad Murray, at his “involuntary manslaughter” sentencing this morning. “Mr. Jackson was an experiment,” Pastor said. “The fact that he participated does not excuse the blame on Dr. Murray. Dr. Murray was intrigued by the prospect, and he engaged in this money-for-medicine madness.”
He handed Murray the maximum sentence possible: Four years in L.A. County jail. But a legal analyst on KNX news radio says the reality of his punishment will likely be far more lenient.
Because Murray is a nonviolent offender, and this is his only offense, the analyst says that “if he is treated like most people with those kind of sentences, it's entirely possible that he might be released to house arrest.”
Possibly after only about a year in jail, and possibly at his girlfriend's house in L.A.
“Experimental medicine is not going to be tolerated,” said Judge Pastor of Murray's careless Propofol handling. However, the judge expressed frustration that he couldn't come down more harshly on the convict, thanks to the California State Legislature. He shot a dagger at politicians for taking away the court's ability to send Murray to state prison.
As it stands, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca will have complete power over Murray's actual jail time (and/or house-arrest time). Many are speculating that the sentence could be whittled down to one or two years, based on good behavior, prison overcrowding, etc.
The Lindsay Lohan effect, at its worst.
District Attorney Steve Cooley, like Judge Pastor, has expressed frustration that the entire justice system is essentially in Sheriff Baca's hands.
“It's not just about how Lee Baca manages it,” Cooley recently told LA Weekly reporter Dennis Romero. “It's about AB 109 essentially being a fool's errand … But it does give the sheriff a tremendous amount of power.”
Cooley even commented on the Murray case in particular:
“The alternative is greatly expanding early release to alternative custodial settings — day centers, house arrest, rehabilitation, ankle bracelets. They will be credited as if they're in state prison.”
It's possible such a scenario could apply, for example, to Conrad Murray, Cooley says:
“It's very possible. Under provisions of 109 he might very well be engaged in alternative custodial settings. Let's see what the sheriff does. I don't want him to be the poster child. But he will he apply whatever mystery early release standards he has.”
[Update: Cooley is “considering an appeal that would ask the judge to send Murray to prison and serve more of his sentence,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
As of last month, AB 109, optimistically titled “Public Safety Realignment,” sent many nonviolent offenders that would normally serve their time in state prison into the softer county-jail system.
Though the rogue, gang-ridden L.A. County Sheriff's Department has ensured that facilities like Men's Central Jail are still a total nightmare, Murray could be set free much sooner than he would in state jail.
At which point, MJ fans might consider… Occupy Conrad Murray's Girlfriend's House?
Update: Here's the sheriff's booking photo from back when Murray was arrested. (His suit today was much darker, as if he'd already gone into mourning.) The judge noted today that Murray showed a chilling lack of remorse for killing the King of Pop; his eyes in this photo are proof enough for us.