Published September 30, 2011
Can the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the doctor actually killed Michael Jackson? Should this medical malpractice even be a criminal case?
The answer to both is a resounding "yes"!
Involuntary manslaughter under California Penal Code section192 (b) requires the state to prove that Murray acted without due 'caution and circumspection'. In simple terms -- was Murray's conduct such a departure from the conduct of an ordinary prudent person under the same circumstances (in this case a physician) as to disregard either human life or the consequences of such an act. This criminal negligence requires that death was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the reckless or negligent conduct.
Here's how prosecutors will meet their burden:
Dr. Murray was hired as a concierge doctor by Jackson to attend to his medical needs for $150,000 a month.
Murray secured propofol (an anaesthetic intended for hospital use only) to administer as a sleep aid for Jackson in his home.
Propofol must be administered by an anaesthesiologist with proper resuscitation equipment. No only was Murray was not an anesthesiologist, he also had no resuscitation equipment should it be needed. His request for such equipment for Jackson's planned tour indicates his knowledge of the need for such equipment when administering propofol.
Murray says he was out of Michael's room for only a short time to go to the bathroom, during which time he alleges Jackson self- administered the lethal dose of propofol.
Cell phone records will apparently show that Murray was out of the room for a longer period of time, talking on the phone with his girlfriend.
Murray's first phone call was not to 911, a doctor, an ambulance or a hospital, but instead to Jackson's assistant. He never asks that emergency medical help be called.
Here's what happened next: When the assistant, and then security arrives, the good doctor asks "if anyone knows CPR," while he (a cardiologist) feebly attempts to administer CPR with one hand while Jackson is lying on a bed -- eliminating the possibility of real chest compression!
When emergency personnel is finally called, Murray never explains Michael has propofol in his system to better assist them in their resuscitation efforts.
After Jackson is pronounced dead at UCLA Hospital, Murray wants to go return to the home and secure the "cream" (Jackson called propofol "milk') so he says, the world won't know about Jackson's use of the drug. This statement about the "cream" instead will be used as evidence later of Murray's "consciousness of guilt" -- his attempt to remove the incriminating evidence from the crime scene.
The improper administration of a powerful hospital anaesthetic; failure to have resuscitation equipment on the scene, failure to monitor a patient whose respiratory system was under duress; failure to call 911; failure to inform 911 of the presence of the anaesthetic in Jackson's system; lying about his bathroom visit as well as the amount of time spent outside the room will all point to substandard medical care.
Murray cannot be heard to argue he was "weaning Michael off his drug addiction" because he bought hundreds of bottles of propofol.
He cannot blame Dr. Klein for Jackson's dependency on demerol since Jackson died of acute propofol poisoning -- not demerol (although he will argue it in some way contributed to Jackson's death.)
He'll also have a hard time explaining how Jackson administered the drug to himself.
The bottom line question is whether the medical care Michael Jackson received was sub-standard and whether the doctor disregarded his life and consequently caused his death. Although they have no burden of proof, the defense has a lot of catching up to do. If convicted Murray faces four years in prison.
Judge Jeanine Pirro is the host of "Justice with Judge Jeanine" which airs Saturday evenings at 9 p.m. ET on Fox News Channel. She is a former County Court Judge and District Attorney of Westchester County, New York .