Tag Archives: Manslaughter

Please, Let’s Keep It Real

Watching the huge display of celebrations outside the courthouse in Los Angeles, after the announcement of the guilty verdict in the Michael Jackson manslaughter trial, I couldn’t help but wonder why we always have to find someone to blame when things go wrong. It was almost as if the fans outside the courthouse were ready to exert mob justice on Dr. Conrad Murray, who had just been officially held responsible for Michael Jackson’s death.

Arguably,  Michael Jackson was, if not the greatest entertainer ever, then one of the greatest. As a Michael fan myself, I think musically, it doesn’t get  any better than Billie Jean, off the wall, rock with you and human nature. But having said that, I think it takes a certain type of fan to camp outside the Los Angeles courthouse everyday for six weeks, all in the name of justice for Michael. I found it quite bizarre that some fans became quite emotional when the guilty verdict came down and others broke out into a frenzy of  Michael’s trademark moonwalk and electric slide dance routines. To me, these celebrations were a touch over the top considering the fact that most of these fans only knew Michael from afar.

I agree that the Jackson clan, and some of Michael’s fans, may find the verdict  somewhat therapeutic.  Nevertheless, it is important that we all keep things real for a number of reasons.

1) While the guilty verdict may help the Jackson clan and fans deal with their grief, it doesn’t bring Michael back from the dead.

2) Dr. Murray is held responsible for Michael Jackson’s death within the realm of law. Although Dr. Murray was evidently professionally negligent, there was clearly no intention on his part to kill Michael. The manner of Michael’s death, though tragic, was purely accidental.

There are times in life when things happen that we cannot unscramble. When faced with these situations, we should learn from them, accept them as fate and then move on. As I mentioned earlier, this doesn’t reincarnate Michael, but it helps put sad situations like this in perspective.  On a spiritual level, maybe we ought to also accept that no matter how short a life, it is indeed a life spent.

3) Michael Jackson was clearly addicted to controlled drugs and he engaged Dr. Murray to help him obtain them. If it hadn’t been Dr. Murray, it would have been someone else willing to oblige for money. When we view things from this angle, it’s hard not to conclude that Michael Jackson’s tragic death was, maybe, an accident waiting to happen.

Consequently, it is ironic that Dr. Murray’s “once in a lifetime opportunity” turned out to be his nemesis. However, his woe was self-inflicted by greed. Surely he must have known that in using controlled drugs in the way that he did, he was over-skirting the borders of medical ethics.

Dr. Murray deserves to lose his medical license and be held accountable, albeit as a scapegoat, for his greed-fuelled medical negligence. However, finally, I hope that the Jackson clan takes solace from the verdict and then find it in their hearts to withdraw their multiple civil lawsuits against him.  The man is financially ruined and professionally damaged as it is.  Isn’t this enough?


Cashing In On the Conrad Murray Trial

Now that both the defence and prosecution have rested their cases in the Dr. Conrad Murray manslaughter trial, we are thankfully edging closer to the finish line. Closing arguments are expected to begin today, after which the case will be handed over to the jury for deliberation.

I think the court proceedings have been educating and entertaining so far.  And Judge Michael Pastor has done a great job in maintaining a relaxed, and yet, business-like courtroom.

When this trial commenced a few weeks ago, I was hoping for a pretty griping trial, somewhat similar to the 1995, O.J. Simpson criminal trial. I was also looking forwarding to some brilliant courtroom displays, especially from the defence.  But once the prosecution rested its case and it became clear that the defence case lacked substance, my interest in the trial began to wane.

Let’s face it, Dr. Conrad Murray’s defence team isn’t particularly in the same league as the celebrated defence lawyers who successfully represented O.J. Simpson in his criminal trial 16 years ago (collectively called the “dream team”). Each individual member of the “dream team” was an ace lawyer in his own right. The team included the late great Johnnie Cochran; F Lee Bailey; Robert Shapiro and Alan Dershowitz. But given Dr. Conrad Murray’s widely reported financial health, it is doubtful that he would have been able to afford anything near the astronomical $3-$6m price tag O.J. Simpson’s defence is thought to have cost.

But there’s another dimension to my harking back to the O.J. Simpson trial.   Quite a handful of those involved in that trial went on to profit from their involvement in the case. And this includes court staff, witnesses, jurors, as well as defence and prosecuting lawyers.

Unless there is a future judicial ruling prohibiting jurors, witnesses and lawyers from profiting from the Dr.Conrad Murray trial, it is almost impossible not to expect a similar raft of trial-inspired books from key participants at the end of the trial.  Now, I am not contending that it is right or wrong to profit in this way, but if acquitted of the involuntary manslaughter charge, we can certainly expect Dr. Conrad Murray to give his own account of events in a book. But of course, a book deal would be furthest from Dr. Conrad Murray’s mind while his fate hangs in the balance. In the pursuant of justice, one can only hope that the members of the jury focus, initially, on the job at hand and defer drafting their memoirs until after the end of the trial.

For information, the nine books authored or co-authored by key participants in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial are listed below.

  1. Madam Forman: A Rush to Judgement? –  By Cooley, Amanda; Rubin-Jackson, Marsha; Bess, Carrie; Cravin, Willie; Hampton, Tracy; Harris, Jeanette; Kennedy, Tracy; Knox, Michael; Byrnes, Tom; Walker and Mike Walker.                     (Eight former jurors )
  2. Murder in Brentwood – by  Mark Fuhrman       (Prosecution Witness)
  3. The Private Diary of an O.J. Juror: Behind the scenes of the Trial of the  Century – by Michael Knox (Former juror)
  4. Without a Doubt – by Marcia Clark (Lead Prosecutor)
  5. In Contempt – by Christopher Darden (Co-Prosecutor )
  6. Journey to Justice – by Johnnie Cochrane ( Defence Lawyer)
  7. The Search for Justice: A Defence Attorney’s Belief on the O.J. Simpson Case – by Robert Shapiro ( Defence Lawyer)
  8. Reasonable Doubts: The Criminal Justice System and the O.J. Simpson Case by Alan Dershowitz (Defence Lawyer)
  9. Evidence Dismissed –  by Tom Lange (Prosecution Witness)