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Conrad Murray: I'm broke and need a court-appointed attorney

December 14, 2011 | 12:08 pm

Murray closing
Surrounded by a team of lawyers and experts during his closely watched trial, Michael Jackson’s former doctor is on his own for his appeal.

Dr. Conrad Murray filed papers this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court saying he is broke and needs the government to pay for a lawyer to handle the appeal of his involuntary manslaughter conviction.

“The defendant is indigent and respectfully requests the appointment of counsel on appeal,” Murray wrote in a filing Tuesday, listing his address as Men’s Central Jail.

Before his conviction, Murray had at least four attorneys, a jury consultant and medical experts working on his behalf.

How the cash-strapped Murray could afford them remains a mystery, although Jackson’s estate has raised questions about whether a British documentary funded the defense.

The cardiologist is a month into a two-year sentence that could be reduced further by jail officials to ease overcrowding. Even if he serves the entire sentence, he may be released before his appeal is heard.

Before Murray's case can move to the appellate level, the trial court has to certify transcripts of the proceedings and other documents, a process that can take up to 50 days, a court spokeswoman said.

After that, it takes at least a year for the Court of Appeal to rule, said Albert Menaster, head deputy of the L.A. public defender’s appellate branch. In the Murray matter, he said, “that would be borderline impossible because it is a big case.”

“We see in just a run-of-the-mill, regular case that it takes two years,” said Menaster, whose office will not handle Murray’s appeal.

Murray, 58, has reasons to appeal beyond gaining his freedom. His conviction on a felony stemming from medical treatment has cost him his license to practice medicine.


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-- Harriet Ryan

Photo: Conrad Murray in court. Credit: Al Seib / LA Times