Essay Example on Adversarial System: Prescribed Processes for Justice

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1038 Words
Date:  2023-01-26


Legal processes follow predetermined order. Such order provides the frameworks within which prosecutors subject defendants to trial. Also, the defendants defend themselves, within which frameworks, as they seek justice from the jury (Koppen & Penrod, 2012). The processes and procedures within which defendants respond to their accusers, under the watch of the jury is the adversarial system. The system oversees the interaction of the jury, prosecutors and the defendants in courts of law.

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Conrad vs. California: Case's Facts

Michael Jackson's cardiologist found himself in corridors of justice following the death of the pop singer. Even though he was found guilty, Conrad Murray denied the allegations by negating the version of the events presented by the prosecutors. The latter argued that Conrad put Michael Jackson to 25 milligrams of propofol drip then left his patient alone. The health experts involved in the trial took sides with the cardiologist citing that the 25-milligram dosage was not enough to sedate Michael Jackson (Richards, 2016). Conrad also argued that propofol was Jackson's "milk" that helped him sleep. The prosecutors' version of events was under the support of the coroner's outcomes. The coroner asserted that the pop star had succumbed to "acute propofol intoxication" since they had found its constituents, midazolam ephedrine, diazepam, and lidocaine, in his body. The court also found out that Conrad had purchased five bottles of the drug at the time he was hired to handle Michael Jackson. The detectives, therefore, concluded that the sedatives in the propofol, midazolam, and diazepam, were responsible for Michael Jackson's death. While the case was ruled as a homicide, Conrad was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Even so, he would, later on, be released on a bail of $75, 000 (Richards, 2016).

The Justification of Conrad's Act of Pleading Not Guilty

Justification is one of the options at the defendant's disposal as they attempt to build their cases. In this part, the defendants plead not guilty of the charges, and also, the label the alleged criminal acts, with which they are accused, as heroic or socially acceptable (Neubauer & Fradella, 2018). Conrad justifies his position and acts regarding his actions towards the last hours of Michael Jackson. It was alleged that the cardiologist had put Michael on propofol and then left him under no surveillance. Conrad, however, asserts that he closely monitored Michael Jackson after administering the drug. Also, he had used the drug on Michael Jackson as "milk" that helped the latter get a comfortable sleep. To this end, the cardiologist's argument was that propofol was meant to help Michael sleep following a long day. the deceased had spent the day rehearsing for an upcoming concert in London (Richards, 2016).

Another significant justification is in the monitoring of the patient. Doctor Conrad argued that he had monitored his patients after administering propofol. The monitoring was necessary since Conrad needed to see his patient safe until his body would eliminate the administered propofol (Richards, 2016). This was prophylaxis to the toxicities that may arise following the administration of the drug. Ideally, Conrad's presence would save Michael's life in case any adverse reactions arose. This justification was against that of his prosecutors.

Negated Element of Crime in Men's Rea

Men's rea, as a criminal element, refers to the intent of committing a crime (Neubauer & Fradella, 2018). According to this element and theory, the prosecutors must establish the actual intention of the defendant in a criminal act. Also, the prosecutors must establish the defendant's mental state at the time of the crime, whether or not he or she was culpable. Even so, the defendant, depending on his or position to alleged crimes, may negate the element. For instance, Conrad Murray negates the allegation that he voluntarily subjected his client to a drug that would end his life. in response, Conrad asserted that he primarily administered propofol to help Michael Jackson sleep comfortably. The prosecutors argued that Michael Jackson's cardiologist intended to question the rationale of administering propofol. The defendant responded that the drug, propofol, had been consumed by Michael Jackson for quite a while as it helped him sleep. Arguably, administering the drug, to put Michael Jackson to sleep, was the best option at the time. As such, administering the drug, at that time and under the circumstances, was nothing but good intentions; helping the patient sleep. Conrad's conviction came even though he was pleading not guilty to intentionally killing his client.


Court cases follow predetermined frameworks that govern the battle between the prosecutors and defendants in the presence of a neutral jury. These frameworks enable the prosecutors to present their cases and the defendants to respond to the allegations presented against them. Conrad vs. California is an excellent example of a case in which these elements are seen. In this case, Conrad was accused of intentionally putting Michael Jackson on propofol and leaving him under no surveillance. Conrad pleaded not guilty to the charges while negating the element of crime in men's rea. Instead, Conrad justified the act of administering propofol, stating that he intended to help Michael sleep as he did in the past.


Koppen, P. J., & Penrod, S. (2012). Adversarial versus inquisitorial justice: Psychological perspectives on criminal justice systems. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. Retrieved from

Neubauer, D. W., & Fradella, H. F. (2018). America's Courts and the Criminal Justice System. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. Retrieved from,+(13th+ed.)+Cengage.&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiPiMunybjjAhXp6OAKHaZPBYQQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=Neubauer%20%26%20Fradella.%20(2018).%20America's%20Courts%20and%20the%20Criminal%20Justice%20System%2C%20(13th%20ed.)%20Cengage.&f=false

Richards, M. (2016). 83 Minutes: The Doctor, the Damage, and the Shocking Death of Michael Jackson. Macmillan. Retrieved from

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