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Since the conviction and sentencing of Conrad Murray there have been frequent references about the “New California Law” that will affect the terms of Murray’s sentence. Yet, while the media frequently mentioned the new law, not many explained the details of the law, leaving many wondering: “What is the new law that everyone is ranting and raving about?”

The Law is called California Assembly Bill 109. Enacted a few months ago, the Supreme Court ordered the State of California to reduce the prison population significantly (by almost 30,000 inmates). This reduction must occur within 2 years (2013) and could save the state over ½ a billion dollars per year. The reasoning behind the law is that due to over-population of California’s prisons, the inmates are subject to “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the 8th amendment of the United States Constitution. Accordingly, the population must be reduced in order to protect the rights of those incarcerated.

What does this mean for the state?

It means that the correctional system of this state will go through what is known as “prison realignment.” The responsibility for incarcerating inmates who are considered to be “low-risk” will shift from the State to the counties. While the state prisons will continue to incarcerate offenders who commit certain serious crimes (violent, sexual, etc.), the county will be responsible for “low-risk” offenders.

What does this mean for inmates?

This will result in thousands of California’s prison inmates being transferred from State Prison to one of the State County Jails within the next two years. This also means that some offenders may be transferred to another jurisdiction, or released prior to the end of their sentence (non-violent offenders will likely only have to serve ½ of their sentence before release). Government officials are collaborating to develop several options including curriculum day reporting programs, in-custody programs, house-arrest, probation, parole, alternative detention, community correction, and even residential reentry.

What does this mean for Conrad Murray?

It means that rather going to prison to serve his sentence, since Conrad Murray is not considered a violent offender (involuntary manslaughter is one of the crimes listed as a “low-risk” offense), he will serve his custodial time in county jail rather than state prison. It also means that Murray will likely only serve at most, 2 years out of the 4 year sentence before being released on probation or parole, or being admitted into one of the alternative programs. However, don’t forget to calculate time-served since this all began and good-behavior during his incarceration.

Once you calculate those reductions, my estimate is that he will likely be released in approximately 18-20 months.

What are your thoughts? How much time do you predict he will serve?

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