Commentary by Vinnie Politan, host of HLN's "Prime News" and "HLN Special Report"
I always wanted to be a detective when I was growing up. Not a real one, but one of those TV detectives like Kojak, Steve McGarrett or Jim Reed. I was raised on the great cop shows of the 70s and 80s. My favorite part was always at the end when they nabbed the perp and read him his rights.
Words that are forever etched in my mind: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
It still amazes me how many criminal defendants don't exercise that right. Didn't they ever watch the shows I did? Well, now we can add Dr. Conrad Murray to the list of those who did not study the lessons of "Hill Street Blues" and "T.J. Hooker"!
Right now, the the prosecution is using Conrad Murray's words against him in a court of law. They are playing his entire police interview, which was conducted two days after Michael Jackson's death.
I will hand it to the doctor, he did not go into this interview unprepared. He had his very capable attorney right by his side. He also had a couple of days to reflect upon what happened. Despite that, there are still some very damaging words being played for jurors.
But what may be even more powerful than what Conrad Murray said to police, is what he did not say.
In describing the events on the morning of Michael Jackson's death, Murray left out the part about all those cell phone calls he made and received. Murray forgot to mention he was speaking to a cocktail waitress in Houston at the time he realized Michael Jackson went into distress. Ooops!
There is another lesson I learned when studying the great work of Mary Beth Lacey and Christine Cagney: When giving a statement, it is important to tell the truth – the WHOLE truth. Otherwise, it can appear you are hiding something. That's why what Conrad Murray did not say to police may say a lot more about his state of mind than the actual words of his official statement.
Do you think Conrad Murray should have exercised his right to remain silent? Tell us in the comments below, on Twitter @HLNTV or on Facebook.
Complete courtroom coverage of the Conrad Murray trial airs live on HLN from gavel to gavel. It’s also on In Session on truTV from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET every weekday. For behind-the-scenes updates, follow @VinniePolitan on Twitter.