Jackson family: Murray sentence should be warning to doctors
Michael Jackson's family asked a judge to impose a sentence for Dr. Conrad Murray "that reminds physicians that they cannot sell their services to the highest bidder and cast aside their Hippocratic oath to do no harm."
The collective statement from Michael Jackson's family was read by Brian Panish, the family's attorney and friend.
In the brief statement, the family said that the pop star's death is "simply against the natural order of things" for a child to die before his parents.
His siblings said in the statement that they will never be able to "hold, laugh and perform again with our brother Michael." And his children said they will forever be without their best friend, playmate and father.
The statement did not specify what sentence the family wanted Murray to serve.
"The Bible reminds us that men can do no justice. They can only seek justice," Panish read. "That is all that we can ask as a family."
Murray, 58, has been held in jail since his Nov. 7 conviction for involuntary manslaughter. The conviction carries a sentence of up to four years in prison and prosecutors have asked Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor to impose the maximum sentence.
It is unlikely, however, that Murray would actually serve that sentence. Under new statewide policies designed to ease inmate overcrowding, certain nonviolent offenders are held in county jails.
In L.A., jail terms are routinely slashed because of jampacked county facilities. Murray's lawyers have asked for the most lenient sentence — probation — in papers arguing that the physician has already been punished enough with the loss of his medical license and public contempt.
Over a four-week case, prosecutors painted Murray as a deceptive and incompetent doctor who abandoned his medical judgment in complying with Jackson's request to be given a surgical anesthetic to put him to sleep.
Witnesses testified to many egregious medical missteps -– giving propofol in an unmonitored setting, fumbling at basic resuscitation, keeping no records –- failures that experts said directly led to Jackson's overdose death.
As his famed patient stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest under the influence of propofol, jurors were told, the doctor chatted on the phone and sent and received email and text messages. And in the crucial moments after he discovered the singer had stopped breathing, he delayed calling for help and lied to paramedics and emergency doctors, witnesses said.
-- Harriet Ryan and Kimi Yoshino
Photo: Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson, center, and sister Rebbie arrive for the sentencing of Dr. Conrad Murray on Tuesday. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press