Los Angeles, CA – Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of pop star Michael Jackson, was ordered back to court in two months, during a preliminary hearing Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ordered Murray to return June 14, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing. During that time the judge is expected to determine, if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.
Additionally, Pastor is expected to consider a request from the California Attorney General’s Office to prevent the 57-year-old doctor from practicing in California, while the case is pending.
Deputy Attorney General Trina Saunders told Pastor that the Attorney General’s Office felt the issue should not be put on hold until June, while one of Murray’s attorneys, Edward Chernoff, countered that the delay would be fine. The judge said he was not minimizing the importance of the request, but said he felt satisfied it would be appropriate to consider it at the hearing in June.
During the brief hearing Pastor noted that he was appointed as a judge in 1983 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who is now the state’s attorney general.
He also noted that he had written a letter of recommendation for one of the prosecutors on the Murray case, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren, who is seeking to be appointed as a judge.
Pastor said he did not believe that either of those matters would affect his ability to be a fair and impartial judge, but noted that seeking to have him disqualified from the case must do so within 10 days.
Jackson, 50, died June 25 of what the coroner’s office determined to be “propofol intoxication.” Propofol is a powerful prescription sedative.
Murray was charged Feb. 9 with felony involuntary manslaughter and was ordered by Superior Court Judge Keith L. Schwartz not to administer any heavy sedatives, particularly propofol, to patients.
Murray was on the payroll as staff physician for Jackson, when the singer died.
Saunders said Murray’s “criminal conduct and reckless actions taken in the care and treatment of his patient M.J. make him a danger to the public.”
But the doctor’s lawyers said that it would be “financially and personally devastating, if he was ordered to cease and desist from practicing medicine in California while the case is pending. They added that the doctor’s license to practice medicine in Texas would be similarly revoked, if the request is granted, and a similar action may occur in Nevada.
If he is unable to practice medicine in Texas and Nevada, Murray “will likely be faced with the inability to defend himself,” according to his attorneys.