D.A. to seek to have Conrad Murray serve his time in state prison
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley on Tuesday said his office would fight to have Dr. Conrad Murray serve his four-year sentence in a state prison, rather than county jail.
Under a new state law, defendants convicted of certain nonviolent crimes will spend their terms in county jail instead of the overcrowded state prison system. Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told The Times that officials were still trying to determine the exact details of his incarceration. But under state law, nonviolent felons in California serve 50% of their sentences.
Cooley, however, said his office is considering an appeal that would ask the judge to send Murray to prison and serve more of his sentence.
Cooley is a strong critic of the new state law. He expressed concern that Murray could actually spend less than two years in county jail because of overcrowding at that facility.
Cooley said he admires the judge's decision but said he's frustrated that Murray will not go to state prison. He added that the state will see more of these high-profile cases in the coming months.
While the Sheriff's Department is considering electronic monitoring at home for some inmates, Whitmore said Murray's involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of Michael Jackson will likely mean he spends the entire two years in jail. That's the maximum sentence the law will allow, Whitmore said.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, in blistering and lengthy remarks Tuesday, sentenced Murray to four years behind bars. He also criticized the doctor for failing to express any remorse for the pop star’s death and for suggesting in a recent documentary that Jackson bore responsibility for his own demise.
“Talk about blaming the victim,” Pastor said. “Not only isn’t there any remorse, there is umbrage and outrage on the part of Dr. Murray against the decedent.”
Pastor denied the defense's request for probation.
"The fact remains, Dr. Murray is offended that [his] patient died," Pastor said in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. And Murray remains a danger to the community, he said.
Murray did not speak before Pastor issued his sentence.
-- Richard Winton