Conrad Murray isn't on suicide watch: officials

A Los Angeles County Jail spokesperson says there is no truth to reports that Dr. Conrad Murray is on suicide watch as he awaits sentencing after his involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of Michael Jackson, reports CBS News national correspondent Ben Tracy.

Murray will be spending the next three weeks at the jail in downtown L. A.

He'll reportedly be kept alone, in his own cell.

"Conrad Murray is considered to be a 'keep away' inmate," says CBS News legal analyst Trent Copeland, "and that means he's going to be kept away from the general population. He won't eat with them. He won't visit with them. He won't spend any time on the yard with them. Conrad Murray will be kept in virtual isolation. Really, it's all for his own safety."

Special coverage: The trial of Dr. Conrad Murray

Murray will likely lose his medical license, and faces up to four years in prison.

But many legal experts say he'll probably serve far less, and probably in a jail, because California's prisons are so overcrowded.

Pictures: Verdict day for Dr. Conrad Murray
Pictures: Who's-who in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray
Pictures: Michael Jackson's doctor's trial

"It's overcrowded on the state level," Copeland observes. "It's overcrowded on the local level. And on the state level, they can't just release you to the streets, so they release you to the L.A. County facilities. And because L.A. County facilities can't house you, they then release you house arrest, electronic monitoring, and in some instances where it's a low-level crime, they even release you to beach clean-up."

Despite his role in the death of a pop icon, even the prosecution accepts the likely reality of a light sentence.

"It will be very difficult to achieve an appropriate sentence of incarceration for Dr. Conrad Murray," Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley conceded in a news conference.

However, the judge could opt for the maximum sentence. And he's already shown he intends to be tough on Murray, by immediately sending him to jail. Murray was led from the courtroom in handcuffs after the verdict was announced Monday.

"This is a crime where the end-result was the death of a human being," said Judge Michael Pastor. "That factor demonstrates rather dramatically that the public should be protected."

And while Murray's lawyers plan to appeal the verdict, he also faces civil suits alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death.

  • Ben Tracy

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