Dr. Murray killed Michael Jackson. No doubt about it since the jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He got sentenced to the maximum term of four years. Dr. Murray won his case when he got convicted. How can I say that when he went through a hard fought trial that lasted weeks and cost him and the taxpayers millions of dollars? According to the evidence, he lied to the paramedics, failed to call 911 in a timely fashion, treated his patient with an extremely dangerous drug under circumstances that failed to meet the most minimum of medical standards among a host of other omissions and commissions. So involuntary manslaughter was the charge and guilty was the verdict. Who says the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office can’t win the big ones? Who says that the District Attorney’s Office loses one high profile case after another? They got their man here didn’t they? Well, yes and no as far as I’m concerned.
Yes, the LADA got a conviction as charged. But, why only charge Dr. Murray with Involuntary Manslaughter? Why not seek a Second Degree Murder conviction? Why not charge both Murder and Involuntary Manslaughter? Based on the facts as presented by the prosecution, the jury could very easily have found Dr. Murray guilty of Second Degree Murder. Why? The real question is why not?
To find a defendant guilty of second degree murder you must look to CalCrim Section 520 which sets out the elements of Second Degree Murder. To prove this is the real crime Dr. Murray is guilty of the DA needed to prove the following: The defendant committed the act that caused the death of Michael Jackson and when he acted he had a state of mind of malice aforethought. The relevant malice element here is implied. Did Murray’s actions consist of the following: 1. Did he intentionally commit an act, and; 2. The natural and probable consequences of the act were dangerous to human life, and; 3. At the time he acted, he knew his act was dangerous to human life, and; 4. He deliberately acted with conscious disregard for human life. Ask yourself, from the facts of this case, wasn’t this the proper charge?
As a final thought, even if the DA had fallen short on one of the above elements for murder, would he have “lost” the case? The answer is absolutely not. Why? Because Involuntary Manslaughter is a lesser and included offense of Second Degree Murder. Therefore, if the DA had charged both Involuntary Manslaughter and Murder the jury could have considered both crimes in deliberations. Dr. Murray wouldn’t walk free under any circumstance if both were charged. But, he didn’t have to risk the possibility of a murder conviction and thus life in prison because the DA never charged him with anything more than Involuntary Manslaughter. When the charges came out from the DA, Dr. Murray had to be smiling because he won before the first witness was ever called.