Justice Has Been Served
The defense has concluded its presentation of the facts in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray for the homicide of Michael Jackson. The jurors will soon be instructed to apply the elements of the crime of involuntary manslaughter to the facts in this case. A number of variables remain, for example:
- Will the jury instructions accurately reflect the California criminal code and interpretive case law?
- Will the jurors adopt the defense team’s narrowing of issues to whether or not Michael Jackson self-administered the anesthetic propofol?
- Will one or more of the fact finders aim to be the lone juror to deny a conviction with the hopes of getting paid TV interviews or lucrative book deals?
When a verdict is rendered, I will have watched this trial from start to finish. I have done so with an open mind.
The last time I called myself a fan of Michael Jackson was 1984, when I was in 4th grade. Between then and last month, I only peripherally observed Jackson while I was in line at the grocery store, in the same disengaged way I follow any other popular figure. I never even paid enough attention to form an opinion.
But I have an opinion now. Here are the conclusions about Michael Jackson that I have drawn as a result of this case:
- He surrounded himself with good people. With one prominent exception, the members of Michael Jackson’s professional and domestic staff who took part in this trial were genuine people who had a veritable commitment to Jackson’s personal well-being and professional success. Jackson’s fans include some extraordinarily faithful, compassionate, and intelligent individuals. “Intelligent” is an adjective I use with due caution and circumspection.
- He was a family man. Michael Jackson wanted his children to see him perform at his best. It was this motivation that drove the 50-year-old man to perform on the night before his death with the fitness and skill of a 25-year-old pop star.
- He had a kind heart. In his most uninhibited and vulnerable state of sedation, Michael Jackson described his deep-rooted desire to help children in need by establishing the Michael Jackson Children’s Hospital.
- He was vulnerable.
- Michael Jackson lamented that he did not have a typical, carefree childhood. Jackson’s desire to help children feel the joy of youth that he missed out on made him exceptionally susceptible to misconstruals of his intentions. He protected himself with complex privacy and security measures.
- Michael Jackson had severe and inadequately treated anxiety and insomnia, which led him to create for himself a rudimentary treatment plan that incorporated the use of a powerful anesthetic that mimicked the effects of sleep.
- He was exploited. Dr. Conrad Murray took advantage of Michael Jackson’s vulnerabilities. In exchange for the opportunity to introduce himself to women as Michael Jackson’s personal physician, and a fee of $150,000 per month, Murray threw caution to the wind and implemented Jackson’s self-designed treatment plan. Jackson died as a result.
While analyzing this trial, I have spoken with and debated a number of individuals, including some of the most visible reporters and high-profile attorneys working in criminal law. No one has summarized this case more simply and clearly than my mom – the only person I know who is more disengaged from pop culture than I:
It is not fair to blame Michael Jackson for his own death.
Do I believe a conviction is warranted based on the facts presented? Yes. What are the odds of a guilty verdict? I say 70 percent. No matter what the trial’s ultimate outcome may be, this case has helped me and others learn more about Michael Jackson, his strengths, and challenges, and I now hold an opinion of his life and legacy based on facts sworn to be the truth. In that regard, justice has been served.