On 25th of June 2009, the musical celebrity Michael Jackson died. The coroners report indicated that Jackson’s death was caused by acute propofol intoxication in combination with sedatives.
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The medication was administered by Dr Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal physician. Michael was being treated for chronic insomnia as he was preparing for a concert in London.
Murray was charged for court and for involuntary manslaughter. A maximum sentence of four years was handed down to him. Whilst defense attorneys filed a memorandum asking for a sentence of probation, the jury denied him.
The case weighing heavily against the defendant was the testimony by specialists that propofol administration must be carried out in a medical facility where adequate life monitoring equipment are available and not at home; and that propofol in combination with other sedatives is a lethal mixture. That was clearly criminal professional negligence.
International law is a set of rules generally regarded and accepted as binding in relationship between states, and nations. International law has been built up in bits over time among the international community, through agreements, compromises, charters, protocols, conventions among many other means, since no sovereign law making body, is responsible for enacting such laws.
Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Manslaughter by definition is an unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought. Murray’s act was an unintended killing resulting from the commission of a lawful act done in an unlawful manner. This in legal parlance is similar to criminally negligent homicide. In this case it was important that the jury has proved no intended malice. Murray was only negligent since he had negotiated a contract with Jackson but has not even been paid any remuneration until his client’s death.
Since Murray might not have harbored any intention to kill his client, a lesser charge of manslaughter and not murder had been preferred.
International law has applied in this case.