According to Reuters, there are two reasons why Murray will probably spend, at most, four months behind bars. The first is a recent California law that demands low-risk prisoners are sent to county jails because of overcrowding in the more hardened penitentiaries. Once at the county jail, officials there have been releasing inmates early, probably because they keep being inundated with low-risk prisoners. Murray would likely be one of those, since involuntary manslaughter is considered a lesser felony. That factors into another California law: If someone is sentenced to four years in prison for involuntarily manslaughter, because that charge is a lesser felony, only half that sentence would be served behind bars. The rest would be spent on probation.
Experts seem to agree that Murray is looking at a maximum of four to six months in a county jail, and even Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley admitted yesterday to reporters, "It will be very difficult to achieve an appropriate sentence of incarceration for Dr. Conrad Murray."
Regardless of the lighter sentence, Murray's defense team is "confident" that the doctor will be able to appeal the case, CNN reports. "What matters most right now is trying to keep Dr. Murray from taking up a prison cell in this community," defense lawyer Ed Chernoff said. "That's what we're focusing on right now and we'll deal with an appeal after that." They better hurry, since Murray has already been placed on suicide watch after he was remanded into custody yesterday. To think, it was just a week ago that Murray's lawyers were claiming Jackson was suicidal. As Michael Scott once said, "Well, well, well. How the turn tables..."
If Murray does appeal the case, it's not because he fears spending little to no time in prison. For the doctor, the biggest reverberation that will come out of this guilty verdict is the inevitable loss of his medical license. Murray, who has fathered at least seven children with six women, is incredibly cash-strapped; his legal team was working on a shoestring budget from the onset after the California and Nevada state medical boards revoked his license following Jackson's death. Murray was still able to keep his practice open in Texas, but the guilty verdict jeopardizes that as well. In fact, Nevada repealed Murray's license not over his role in Jackson's death but because of outstanding child support payments, which gives you an idea of Murray's financial situation. However, he has a plan to make some quick cash…
TMZ writes that, since Jackson died in 2009, a production company called Zodiac Rights has been following Murray for a documentary called Michael Jackson and The Doctor: A Fatal Friendship. The film crew had full access to Murray and his team throughout the trial, and confirms the rumors that Murray's lawyers were fighting over the defense's strategy. The doc has already drawn interest from "major broadcasters around the world," including NBC. It's still unclear how much Murray will profit off the film. Watch a clip from the documentary over at TMZ.
- Conrad Murray
- Conrad Murray