In a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Conrad Murray was denied probation and ordered to serve four years in Los Angeles County Jail . On Nov. 7, Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his patient Michael Jackson.
Judge Michael Pastor offered a detailed account of his reasoning during an extended preamble to the sentencing, clearly indicating that if it were up to him, Murray would have received an even harsher sentence.
Michael Jackson died not because of an isolated one-off occurrence, Judge Pastor said during the sentencing, which was broadcast live via TMZ. He died because of a totality of circumstances which are directly attributable to Conrad Murray.
Pastor repeatedly explained that he viewed Jackson's death as a result of persistent poor judgment on the part of Dr. Murray, who he believed violated his sworn obligation in exchange for money, fame, prestige. The judge characterized Murray's treatment of the pop star, in regard to how he acquired and administered the potent anesthetic propofol, as a cycle of horrible medicine, adding, It is almost inconceivable that Murray would have persisted in this pattern for such a long amount of time.
The judge criticized Murray for unconscionable lies, attempting to destroy evidence, and sophisticated, intentional deception.
One can't help but be offended by the circumstances in this case, Pastor said.
The judge took particular issue with the surreptitious recording of Michael Jackson by his trusted doctor.
I have repeatedly asked myself: Why did this happen, and for what reason?
Pastor concluded that the recording was Dr. Murray's insurance policy. It was designed to record his patient surreptitiously at that patient's most vulnerable point.
I can't even imagine that happening to any of us, because of the horrific violation of trust, he continued, and suggested that Murray might have been prepared to sell the recording.
I can't help but wonder that if there had been some conflict between Michael Jackson and Murray....what value would be placed on that tape recording, Pastor said. He later referred to the surreptitious recording as the chapter that disturbs me the most.
Judge Pastor was also clearly disturbed by Conrad Murray's lack of remorse, and unwillingness to accept responsibility for his contribution to Michael Jackson's death.
Talk about blaming the victim, Pastor said. To hear Dr. Murray say it, Dr. Murray was just a bystander.
Before announcing the sentence, Judge Pastor said Murray was denied probation, and explained why.
Why give probation to someone who is offended by the whole idea that that person is even before the court? Pastor said. You can't have probation when there isn't an acknowledgement of rehabilitation and responsibility.
I looked valiantly for efforts to satisfy myself that while Dr. Murray was eligible for probation, he was suitable for probation, Pastor explained.
Ultimately, Pastor decided that Murray was not suitable: [Murray] unquestionably violated the trust and confidence of his patient on a repeated, nightly basis, and engaged in a sophisticated scheme to obtain propofol through insidious means.
Because Murray was convicted of manslaughter (vs. a homicide with demonstrated intent), this court does not have the legal authority to incarcerate Dr. Murray in state prison, Judge Pastor said, before delivering a sentence of four years imprisonment (the maximum allowable sentence).
Murray violated the trust of the medical community, of his colleagues, and of his patient. And he has absolutely no sense of remorse, absolutely no sense of fault, and is and remains dangerous, Pastor said, adding that he believed Murray to be reckless and a danger to the community.
Experimental medicine is not going to be tolerated, the judge later added. Michael Jackson was an experiment. Dr. Murray engaged in this 'money for medicine' madness that simply is not going to be tolerated by me.
Murray will serve out his sentence in Los Angeles County jail, minus 46 days of time served (23 days of actual custody, and a matching 23-day credit.) Murray can be expected to serve a reduced sentence due to jail overcrowding.
Murray can also be expected to face civil charges, and the Los Angeles District Attorney has ordered him to pay restitution of over $100 million.
I am concerned about the restitution requests for this case, Pastor said, and arranged to schedule a restitution hearing at a later date.
Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009 due to an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol.