See, I thought from the headline that someone had subpoenaed CNN’s “Dr. Drew”, or hired him as an expert in the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor.
But no, this is a mix & match: the story is about what is going on in a trial, but the “expert” opinion is coming from a TV personality.
I don’t have a TV or see too much of Dr. Drew, but what I do see I don’t mind. But I have to say I object to what he’s doing here. This was a lawyer’s opening statement, not part of the evidence. If he wants to critique what some expert witness actually says when the field is up his alley, that would be fair. But this commentary is out of line.
And it’s prejudicing the defendant.
Full disclosure: I wasn’t what you would call a big Michael Jackson fan, but I thought he was enormously gifted and often terribly mistreated, which happens I think in the up and down lives of celebrities. I think he is a very sympathetic figure. He lived in a pressure cooker from the time he was out of diapers until his sudden death at 50. He was very productive and often brilliant in the work he did. He became eccentric and odd, perhaps, in his later years but I accept that being deprived of even a remotely normal childhood has a price, and the fame and wealth don’t always compensate very well. I’m not going to be a bleeding heart about it all, but many people look at the same thing and are cruel, I think. Crowds are strange: they can be scrambling to join your fan club one day and calling for your blood the next.
On one level this should be an easy conviction for the prosecution: if you’re a doctor and your rich and famous patient pays you $150K per month the rich and famous patient should not wind up dead from a drug overdose. But the law about homicides like these is legal quicksand. New York’s highest court has been defining and redefining the intent elements of some homicide statutes for a long time.
The bottom line is that where someone screws up and causes a death by accident, that should not be a criminal matter. Civil, yes. Criminal, no.
But those lines have blurred a lot, and that is not a good thing.