Dr. Conrad Murray was sentenced Tuesday to four years in the Los Angeles County jail -- the maximum sentence allowed under the law -- in the death of Michael Jackson. He may serve no more than two, however.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, in a lengthy statement delivered before sentencing Murray for involuntary manslaughter, said he felt a significant responsibility to determine the appropriate sentence, utilizing his "sense of fairness and decency."
"There are those who feel Dr. Murray is a saint," Judge Pastor said. "There are those who feel Dr. Murray is the devil. He's neither. He's a human being. He stands convicted of the death of another human being."
Automatic credit for good behavior lowers the actual time served to two years, which puts his projected release date in late 2013, Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
Murray is not eligible for early release electronic monitoring or house arrest, which some county prisoners get under a federal court order aimed at reducing jail overcrowding, Whitmore said. "He does not meet our requirements for any kind of home monitoring," he said.
Members of Jackson's family, who sat in court for Tuesday's sentencing, appeared pleased with the judge's decision to ignore defense please for leniency.
A statement from the family, read in court by a lawyer, said they were "not here to seek revenge," but they wanted a sentence that "reminds physicians that they cannot sell their services to the highest bidder and cast aside their Hippocratic oath to do no harm."
It included a message to the judge from Jackson's three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket.
"We will grow up without a father, our best friend, our playmate and our dad," the children said.
Defense lawyer Ed Chernoff acknowledged that it was unlikely Pastor would accept probation for Murray, but he still made a case for community service over time behind bars.
"He could do things for the community on probation that he could never do sitting in that little room," Chernoff said.
Even without jail time, Chernoff said, he will suffer the rest of his life because of the loss of his medical career and the stigma of the conviction.
"Whether he is a barista the rest of his life, whether he is a greeter at Walmart, he's still going to be the man who killed Michael Jackson for the rest of his life," Chernoff said.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren, arguing for the maximum four years in jail, said Murray was "playing Russian roulette with Michael Jackson's life every single night," by using the surgical anesthetic propofol to put him to sleep in "a reckless, obscene manner."
Murray showed his lack of remorse or acceptance of his personal responsibility in an interview nine days before he was found guilty, Walgren said.
"I don't feel guilty because I did not do anything wrong," Murray said in a documentary aired days after he was convicted.
Pastor delivered a 30-minute explanation of why he was sentencing Murray to the maximum jail time, even though the doctor was technically eligible for probation.
Murray's "faux documentary" made it appear he was just a "bystander" in Jackson's death who was "entrapped" and "betrayed" by his patient, Pastor said.
"Yikes! Talk about blaming the victim," he said. "Not only isn't there any remorse, there's umbrage and outrage on the part of Dr. Murray against the decedent, without any, any indication of the slightest involvement in this case."
Pastor said that while he had considered the entire "book" of Murray's life, he also had "read the book of Michael Jackson's life."