Opening Arguments Begin in Conrad Murray/Michael Jackson Trial

Bump and Update: Here's a trial primer. Here's a rundown on the jurors. You can watch the live stream of the trial here.


Two years after Michael Jackson's death, opening arguments begin tomorrow for Dr. Conrad Murray, charged with manslaughter for allegedly administering a deadly amount of propofol to Jackson and then failing to properly monitor him. [More...]

The trial is being televised and live-streamed. You can watch here.

The parties were in court today arguing the last of pre-trial motions. The jury was finalized last week. Much of the trial will be about the sedative propofol.

The defense will argue that Murray did not administer the fatal dose of propofol. They allege Jackson took the powerful sedative on his own. The defense contends Jackson's health was compromised through a history of taking medications. They say there was also pressure to expand his tour from 10 concerts to 50.

"We think that Michael Jackson was involved in certain acts that ended his own life," defense attorney Ed Chernoff told Judge Michael Pastor on Tuesday morning. "We think that he was desperate at the time that he did that."

Who's on the jury?

A jury of seven men and five women were selected, and half of them are Jackson fans. Five are Hispanic, six are Caucasian and one juror is black.

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    From the doctors I've talked to... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by magster on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:22:07 PM EST
    .... using Propofol as a sleep aid outside of a hospital is insanity. I'm putting my money on the prosecution on this one.

    Yes (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:34:33 PM EST
    It is not indicated for use as a sleep aid.  

    And then fibbing to the (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 03:35:07 PM EST
    paramedics about what drugs he was using and only admitting to ativan, attempting to sanitize the scene.....if there's any truth to that stuff I think the good doctor is cooked.

    Can't believe... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 01:17:52 PM EST
    this joke of a prosecution is even taking place.  

    I hope nobody tries to charge Phillip Morris or the Seneca nation with manslaughter if I die of a smoking related illness one day...should I sign a release or something to protect my suppliers?

    I think (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 01:29:10 PM EST
    this is a little different and not a good comparison.  In your scenario, you are purchasing a legal product from a company.  Warnings have been out for 40 years as to the damage smoking can do to your health.

    In Dr. Murray's case, he is a physician allegedly administering prescription drugs (for anesthesia) for a purpose for which they were not intended (sleeping problems).  As a doctor, he owes a higher duty of care to his patient than Phillip Morris owes to you. As a physician, he is supposed to keep records, and is supposed to take into consideration other medications his patient is taking and the interactions of those medications.  I don't know if he did that, but this is nothing like you smoking.


    A little different... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:04:53 PM EST
    but closer a comparison than you think.  If I could afford a Dr. Feelgood to write me Perc, 'Din, and Addy scripts at will I would, it would be so much more convenient, then I'd have a better comparison.

    "Dr. Feelgood", aka personal physicians to wealthy dope fiends, is as old as the prescription system itself.  Are we gonna prosecute them all when their clients o.d.?  I say clients in lieu of patients because he was serving more in a drug dealer capacity than that of a physician, imo.

    What makes MJ's overdose special is he had a taste for stronger dope than most...it's tragic, but it shouldn't be no crime, and certainly not manslaughter.  Take his license away, that's reasonable I guess, but prison being mentioned is pure lunacy.


    That's why there's a trial taking place. (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:10:37 PM EST
    If I could afford a Dr. Feelgood to write me Perc, 'Din, and Addy scripts at will I would,...

    And that would be unethical, negligent, and possible criminal on the doctor's part and if you died, Dr. Feelgood would probably face the same fate as Dr. Murray.


    That's why... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:17:24 PM EST
    I asked about the waiver, I'd feel absolutely awful if I got a supplier in trouble with the hard heart and hand of John Law because of my choices.

    We could avoid all this if we let doctors treat and give medical advice, let drug dealers deal the drugs, and let adults be adults.


    And if You Had Insurance... (none / 0) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:23:04 PM EST
    ... it would actually save you a lot of money.

    Indeed... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:26:35 PM EST
    Black market prices are high, but they fill a need in the marketplace and for that I am grateful...well worth it.

    I might have put a pair of pliers to my mouth were it not for the black market to hold me over till a chair at the low cost dental clinic at the university opens up.  The prescription system is not only tyrannical, but cruel and inhumane as well.


    been there, done that (none / 0) (#20)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:37:14 PM EST
    and in those situations, you're quickly reminded that Vonnegut was right when he said (paraphrase) "whats wrong with an opiate-of-the-masses? where would we be without them?"

    Permission Slips (none / 0) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:47:26 PM EST
    How could that possibly get be exploited, it's not like we didn't learn how to fake those in high school to go drinking at the park.

    Notes from mommy in school and notes from the doctor now, as if anyone needs permission to get drugs in America.

    And our government is so GD stupid, they would rather have people dealing with thugs in alleys selling god knows what, then let us choose what we ingest.


    I would hope, if I could afford to (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 01:42:59 PM EST
    have an attending physician hanging around my place, he or she would still exercise sound medical judgment, despite my imprecations and folly.  

    Yes (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 01:46:19 PM EST
    All the more reason because, unlike regular doctors, a personal attending physician would be able to have more information into your habits, lifestyle, etc. than what is normally communicated in a 15 minute appointment a couple of times a year.

    If I have a personal physician... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:10:55 PM EST
    on my payroll  I'd want his best advice, sure.  Unless his advise didn't jive with my wishes...then it's "write the f*ckin' script or you're fired".

    A personal physician (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:13:55 PM EST
    Would be hired to give the best possible professional advice.  It's not like hiring a cleaning lady or a gardner.

    Anhy reputable doctor wouldn't give you the chance to fire them - they would cease to treat you.


    I'm With You... (none / 0) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:04:47 PM EST
    Jackson was the driver, and had the good doctor not helped, with Jackson's resources, another would have.  Junkies are resourceful MF'ers, and this doctor just has the misfortune of being the one on deck when Jackson died.  I wonder how many physicians Jackson had shopped before making an offer someone couldn't deny.

    I am tired of society blaming everyone but the GD junkie when drugs are the culprit.  I don't remember anyone getting all worked up over any junkie who ODed on the streets, why now ?  Because Jackson is famous and his dealer was an MD.  But in reality, he was Jackson's dealer and the only advantage the MD gave him was access to good S.

    This type of thought is why our drug policy will always be a joke.  We are programmed to blame the dealer, the drug, but not the junkie.  Throw him in jail for giving a grown man what he wanted.

    They got his license and no doubt they skin him alive in civil court, isn't that enough skin ?


    Yes (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:15:55 PM EST
    Personal responsibility should be present much more throughout the entire criminal justice system.

    Someone HAS to pay (none / 0) (#15)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:17:25 PM EST
    for killing another America's Sweetheart..We demand blood..

    Excellent point Scott, about junkies Dr Nick shopping; that phenomena goes double for wealthy junkies with leverage.


    just don't sue Antonio Cromartie (none / 0) (#3)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 01:34:25 PM EST
    for causing you mental distress and pain and suffering..

    Second thought, I know a guy..

    Of course, the other side'll say we're all forced to put ourselves in the hand of "experts" and specialists at one time are another, and some of 'em are shysters, hacks, and butchers. A guy almost killed my daughter one time during a VERY routine surgery (Antonio Cromartie in his earlier career as a fledgling doctor, but that's another story..)

    I'm still pissed.. (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:37:23 PM EST
    at my highly specialized highly educated dermatologist for not even looking at the lab results related to my spider/mosquito/god knows what bites incident.  

    And the punk didn't even cough up a script for anything good! Rip off.

    I'm not saying Ron Paul-stylee no licensing no requirements libertarian dystopia medicine, just chill with the chains and persecutions.  And if people wanna get high or sedated (gasp!) let them, it is an inalienable right....like eating or breathing.


    You're Still Young My Good Man.... (none / 0) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 03:00:23 PM EST
    I can chisel a script for a teeth cleaning.  I don't care what they think because I know at some point I will need pain medication beyond Advil.

    I learned long ago, it's better to have scripts you don't need, then to have no scripts when you do.

    This mickey mouse game we play with legal drugs is exactly why the black market flourishes.  No permission slips, no worries of refills, no hassles.


    Type 1 Diabetes (none / 0) (#6)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:01:38 PM EST
    Is the doctor who writes a prescription for insulin liable for the diabetic who takes too much and goes into a coma and dies?

    Insulin requires a prescription to obtain and delivery is usually unsupervised......

    Isn't there some question as to whether Michael injected himself?

    Different argumetn again (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:09:32 PM EST
    If a doctor writes a prescription for a certain amount of insulin, and the patient takes more than the prescribed dose and is injured or dies, then that is on the patient.  The doctor could theoretically have some culpability if the patient wasn't properly warned about the dangers, etc., but in your scenario, what the doctor did was within the correct practice of medicine.  

    What Dr. Murray is accused of is outside of that.


    Appropriate addiction treatment (none / 0) (#22)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:37:36 PM EST
    is the question.  If the doctor can legally prescribe the drug, and he, as you say "warned the patient about the dangers," and if, as is expected to be argued, the patient self-doses when the doctor leaves the room, seems there is a significant amount of doubt for the prosecutor to deal with.

    Except (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 02:44:06 PM EST
    Dr. Murray is accused of giving Jackson Propofol -a drug used in anesthesia and not indicated for sleeping problems - the drug was being used in a way not intended. Think of it this way - it's the same thing if a doctor prescribed Accutane for birth control.

    I get the "not indicated" angle.... (none / 0) (#25)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 03:00:20 PM EST
    but at least it's used to help people sleep - al little different from your example.  I know the setting isn't usually someone's home though.  Could go either way.

    Not according to the FDA (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 03:10:02 PM EST
    It is ONLY intended to anesthesia and surgical sedation. It is never prescribed for sleeping problems.

    Where does it say this? (none / 0) (#29)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 04:02:33 PM EST
    I couldn't find it in any of the documentation or on the FDA's website.

    Don't want you to think I'm being argumentative.  I just feel the patient bears a fair amount of responsibility here.  Seems to me there was nothing illegal or criminal in the doctor's actions.  Negligent maybe...


    I agree (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 04:18:55 PM EST
    The patient does bear some responsbility.  That being said, however, doctors have specialized knowledge that requires them to exert a higher duty of care.

    Diprivan (Propofol) is not approved for insomnia.

    Also, Murray is accused of mixing this powerful anesthsia with another drug.


    please remember (none / 0) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 08:58:33 PM EST
    Jbinc is TalkLeft's  Nancy Grace --always shilling for the prosecution. Don't take any comments here as facts.

    It's not illegal for a doctor to administer propofol outside of anethesia. See here

    Propofol is used for: Starting or maintaining anesthesia during certain surgeries, tests, or procedures. Itt may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

    It's not even a controlled substance. He's not charged will illegally prescribing it (it only comes in injectable form so it's not like he wrote a script and Jackson filled it as in oxycontin cases) but with negligently administering too much of it and failing to monitor Jackson. There's very few cases of abuse for it.

    As I've said before, it could be the combination of drugs that killed Jackson, and Jackson could have self-administered.

    And we never assume guilt on TalkLeft, so when you see a comment that does, let me know so I can delete it. Opinion is fine, to an extent, but false or misleading representation of facts is not.


    (Applause) (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:40:36 AM EST
    Yes, doctors could prescribe it for things other than surgery - such as for people on ventilators (which Michael Jackson was not) or for ICU patient sedation.  The nice little disclaimer you pointed to allows physicians to prescribe a drug for other uses - also known as "off label" (non indicated) uses.  Yes, it is legal for for a doctor to prescirbe a drug for an "off label" use - HOWEVER, off label prescriptions are generally supported by volumes of scientific evidence. And I can't imagine there is a ton of scientific evidence out there supporting personal use of propofol such that gallons would need to be ordered. So even if the defense argument is true - that Jackson administered it himself, it begs the question - why was there so much of it in the first place?

    Of course, you might to want to look a little further at the FDA link you provided - I don't see anything in there about the drug helping insomniacs.

    I can see why you're a good defense attorney - you stated and argued things I never said and you apparently were able to read my mind. Facts not in evidence, counselor. But the Nancy Grace comment was a really nice touch and a great diversionary tactic - right up there with the standard Sarah Palin / boogey man comment in political threads. Well played.

    I will bow out of your threads, as it is clearly obvious you don't want actual discussion to take place - just syncophantic statements that a) defendants are always being framed, b) prosecutors and judges are always overzealous, and c) cops are always going rogue.  None of that is really true, of course, and I know you actually know that, but that doesn't fit the narrative.

    Good day to you.


    In JB's defense (none / 0) (#34)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 09:25:21 AM EST
    I know her(?) leanings since we've had "discussions" previously, trust I do not take her word as gospel.

    I appreciate her perspective, even though I don't always agree with it.  At the very least, the discussion are lively when both sides of an argument are hashed out.  IANAL, but can play one on your blog.

    I would not however, deem it my place usurp your authority over the intention(s) of your site.  Just wanted to let you know I'm not necessarily swayed by the "facts" as she presents them.

    That's why I posted the documentation on the drug, it does not specifically refer to insomnia, but does refer to MAC sedation - which can be used in settings outside of a hospital.  Figured I'd let your readers draw their own conclusions.


    I will not follow this trial (none / 0) (#32)
    by loveed on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 11:02:09 PM EST
     I loved Micheal Jackson. Seen him probably 30 times. Amazing talent, truly missed.
     I won't watch because it so sad. No one intended for this to happen. The state is not trying to kill anyone in our name.
     I do feel Dr Murray committed malpractice. No one performs CPR on a bed.