Court upholds conviction of Michael Jackson doctor

ANTHONY McCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer
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Conrad Murray  (AP Photo)

Conrad Murray (AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An appellate court unanimously upheld the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michael Jackson’s doctor, determining that there was “substantial evidence” of his guilt presented at trial.

The ruling by the California 2nd District Court of Appeal comes less than three months after former cardiologist Conrad Murray was released after serving two years in jail for causing Jackson’s 2009 death.

The 68-page ruling includes lengthy recitations of the evidence against Murray, who was convicted of giving Jackson a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol in June 2009. The superstar was preparing for a series of comeback concerts titled “This Is It.”

In its opinion, the appeals court determined that Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor was within his right to impose the maximum sentence on Murray.

Murray’s “callous disregard for Mr. Jackson’s health and safety was shown throughout the trial from the manner in which he administered a number of dangerous drugs to Mr. Jackson without the appropriate medical equipment, precautions or personnel in place, and to the manner in which he left Mr. Jackson unattended,” the opinion states. “The evidence demonstrated that Mr. Jackson was a vulnerable victim and that (Murray) was in a position of trust, and that (Murray) violated the trust relationship by breaching standards of professional conduct in numerous respects.”

Murray appealed his conviction, arguing that the judge who oversaw the case improperly excluded jurors from hearing key evidence and should have sequestered jurors.

The appellate court disagreed and said it found no errors in the judge’s rulings, including one to allow Murray’s trial to be televised.

“We have not found any errors in the conduct of the trial, and in the few instances where we have assumed error for purposes of discussion, we have not found prejudice or, indeed, any significant adverse impact,” the opinion states.

Murray’s attorney Valerie Wass said she had not read the entire opinion yet and could not comment on the ruling. A phone message left for Supervising Deputy Attorney General Victoria Wilson was not immediately returned.

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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