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Prison population limit may keep Conrad Murray in LA jail

Dr. Conrad Murray is seen at his involuntary manslaughter trial in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011.
November 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Jackson died of an overdose of propofol, and Murray, 58, was accused of administering the fatal overdose. He was found guilty Nov. 7.

His attorneys are asking that Murray be sentenced to probation and community service, but prosecutors want a superior court judge to impose the maximum sentence of four years in state prison.

Jackson's family and children may go before the judge, as well as Murray's supporters.

However, emotional pleas may have little impact on Murray's fate. A new state process known as realignment is in play to reduce the state prison population and send non-violent offenders to county jail.

"Realignment has put us into uncharted waters in part because we are not sure what kinds of crimes will qualify for realignment," said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School.

Murray has been at Los Angeles County Jail since his conviction. Sheriff Lee Baca said Murray will likely stay there if he is sentenced to serve time behind bars.

"My intent, because of the spirit of the law, is to keep him as long as possible," Baca said.

Under sentencing guidelines, that could mean two years shaved off if Murray gets the maximum of four years. The minimum will depend how crowded the jail gets.

The prosecution also recommended that Murray be ordered to pay restitution to Jackson's children and pay requisite fines, which totals nearly $102 million with Jackson's projected earnings from the 50-concert "This Is It" tour and associated funeral expenses.

Lee said if Murray serves time in his jail, he may assign him to a clerical job.


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