AP Exclusive: New Calif law broadly defines crimes

By DON THOMPSON | October 4, 2011 | 3:15 PM EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown and others who supported the dramatic shift in California's sentencing law that took effect this week have said it will send only those convicted of nonviolent or non-serious crimes to county jails instead of state prison.

Yet an Associated Press review of crimes that qualify for local sentences shows numerous offenses that can be considered serious or violent. They include involuntary manslaughter, participating in a lynching, battery and possessing weapons of mass destruction.

Among those who could be affected is Dr. Conrad Murray, who is on trial for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.

Legal experts say he would serve his maximum, four-year sentence in a Los Angeles County jail instead of state prison and would not be subject to parole supervision after his release.