It is reported that the prosecutors are asking for a four-year sentence, the maximum for involuntary manslaughter in California. In addition to the prison term, the prosecutors wrote, Murray should be ordered to pay as restitution to Jackson’s estate the $100 million the singer would have earned from the comeback concerts, and $1.8 million in memorial service and funeral costs.
I don’t have a problem with the prison term requested, but the restitution is absurd. Of course Murray can’t pay any of it. He will lose all his medical licenses and will be making license plates soon. When he is released from prison, he will barely be able to support himself rather than pay 100 million dollars.
So why do the prosecutors make such an outrageous demand? It is pure theater. It has no place in a rational criminal justice system. The sentence should be tailored to the specific defendant and the crime, not to make a public statement. Demands like this cheapen the system and cause citizens to lose respect for it.