December 11, 2009

Judge won't suspend doctors' licenses in Anna Nicole Smith case

Posted: 06:06 PM ET

By Alan Duke, CNN

Los Angeles, California (CNN) - A judge Friday refused to suspend the medical licenses of two doctors facing trial on drug charges linked to the 2007 death of Anna Nicole Smith.

The Medical Board of California should have asked for the suspension earlier and not eight months after Drs. Khristine Eroshevich and Sandeep Kapoor were first charged, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Wesley said.

Smith's boyfriend Howard K. Stern and the two doctors face 23 felony charges, including three counts of conspiracy to dispense and administer controlled substances to a known addict.

The three also are accused of conspiring to use false names to obtain drugs for Smith, a practice defense attorneys argued was intended to protect the celebrity's privacy.

The defendants, who are out on bond, entered not guilty pleas on all charges in an arraignment Friday. A trial date has been set for February, although it is expected to be pushed back to later next year.

Smith died February 8, 2007, from what a Florida medical examiner ruled was "acute combined drug intoxication."

At the arraignment, a lawyer from the state attorney general's office, E. A. Jones III - representing the medical board - argued that the judge should order the doctors to stop practicing medicine and surrender their prescription forms until the trial's completion.

The medical board's motion contended an October ruling finding "probable cause" for the doctors to be held for trial was justification for their licenses to be suspended.

Wesley said, however, the burden of proof for suspending a medical license is "clear and convincing evidence" - a higher standard.

"They've not been convicted," the judge said.

(Read more…)

Filed under: Anna Nicole Smith

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Dodie ~ CA   December 11th, 2009 6:35 pm ET

I am appalled the doctors did not have their license suspended until after the trials, considering they have 23 felony charges. In order to file a felony charge, there must have been an investigation resulting in evidence. You just do not drop felony charges on people without some specific evidence. Granted, there are no convictions as of yet; however, for the public’s safety, I would think the judge would agree with E. A. Jones III from the AMA and prefer to error on the conservative side.

I find it very sad as well as disturbing that MDs continue to behave very inappropriately with regards to dispensing ‘class’ substances to famous known addicts.

MourningMJ   December 11th, 2009 7:49 pm ET

It's completely reprehensible that the judge responsible hearing the case for Anna Nicole Smith would allow these recognized "professionals" to continue prescribing to obvious addicts fueling their self destruction and their ultimate demise. Even if the case is under investigation, there was enough probably cause to find evidence leading to arrest. I was absolutely appauled to learn of the amount of drugs found in Anna Nicole's system. Unfortunately, Heath Ledger found suit, but the most recent and obvious shock of prescription medication addiction, abuse and overdose if that of Michael Jackson. Propofol overdose? Never heard of outside a hospital. When will these medical professionals be held culpable for their decisions? Only in the U.S. right?

Justice for Michael Jackson
Justice for Anna Nicole Smith

Judie   December 11th, 2009 8:44 pm ET

IMO this is very bad news for the ~Michael Jackson~ case,when in the hell are these so called drug dealer doctors going to be held accountable for their actions? How many more people in trouble have to die before someone set some rules on these prescription peddlers. Make them all accountable for their negelance.

Vee   December 11th, 2009 11:12 pm ET

The Hippocratic Oath and Medical Boards were designed to guide and govern physicians in ethical and moral conduct. It has become glaringly clear however that these checks and balances are no longer working. When will the judicial system stop sleeping and step in to stop these gross and despicable abuses of medical power? Anna and Michael are dead! How many more will it take before the laws are revised? RIP Michael and Anna.

I'm sad and upset.

Sandy-Houston   December 12th, 2009 12:42 am ET

Could it be that these medical boards are just figurehead committees and not action committees?
I find it shameful and frightening that these two physicians who "treated" Anna Nicole so recklessly, are allowed to continue practicing. Because the board in California didn't do the job they were appointed to do. This leaves the door wide open for it to continue to happen, as with the case of Michael Jackson. Some professionals in the health care industry have long been allowed to police themselves and much change is needed.
I found it interesting in an article I read, that some medical schools don't even require graduating students to recite the Hippocratic Oath. Not that it makes a difference. The Oath is mere words on a piece of paper if the physician doesn't take them to heart with every patient put in their care. And it's the patient, such as Anna Nicole and Michael Jackson who pay the ultimate cost with their lives. Much justice is needed for them and for all patients.

sherry   December 12th, 2009 1:27 am ET

this is not a good outcome,,,,very surprising,,,,,,,,,,,,,who paid who off now

Victoria J   December 12th, 2009 1:29 am ET

This is appalling, indeed, for a judge of the law who is in that position to protect the rights and safety of the citizens to allow these physicians to continue to practice and perhaps write more prescriptions for another addict who is clearly on their way to meeting their death through a drug overdose. It is reckless on the part of the physicians who "practice medicine" in this manner and it is abhorable on the part of the justice system to give license to these conscienceless professionals to continue "business as usual." Something has been amiss within the medical community, obviously, when addicts can freely "doctor shop" and receive numerous prescriptions medicines using various aliases; but it is horrifying to know there is also something amiss in our justice system that will continue to allow this to happen. Where is the justice for Anna, Michael and others who will work the system for the drugs?

Lori - Justice For Michael   December 12th, 2009 3:44 am ET

Why are unethical doctors allowed to practice? Shouldn't they be suspended if they have been charged with a crime and are on trial?
Why are doctors, who hold their patients' lives in their hands not more closely monitored and regulated? Something needs to change.

Lori Quebec Canada   December 12th, 2009 4:19 am ET

How can a judge no suspend the medical licenses of those 2 doctors? their actions caused somone to die and their still allowed to continue to prescribe medication to people.....if a judge wouldn't suspend their licenses i'm guessing they won't suspend Murray's either this is very sad to see that the justice system in the USA is allowing these doctors to continue to perscibe medication to people even after there is evidence enough for their arrest......Murray admitted himself that he gave Michael Propofol and even with that information Murray is still seeing people and still allowed to prescribe medication to people..........very very sad to see this is allowed to continue.....

MaryRM   December 12th, 2009 8:50 am ET

Vee December 11th, 2009 11:12 pm ET

Unfortunately the medical boards, like many other boards originally created to protect the individual are now set up to protect the industry instead.

James C. Taliaferro, M.S., QMHP   December 13th, 2009 2:26 pm ET

They were enabling her! They should have been helping her manage her money instead of pumping her full of drugs. I am glad that she is getting some justice after that long drawn out dramatic yet entertaining case.

James C. Taliaferro, M.S., QMHP   December 13th, 2009 2:28 pm ET

Same thing with Michael Jackson almost. Enablers should help with the management of money instead of management of the addiction.

lola   December 13th, 2009 9:18 pm ET

The medical board waited too long to revoke the doctor's licenses and are now making the same mistake with Dr. Murray. Doctors should have their licenses suspended while under investigation since the public needs to be protected from these greedy buggers. What good is universal health care in this country when you have doctors like these practicing medicine? A person is more safe without any doctor than these murderers.

Cali MJ Fan   December 14th, 2009 12:22 pm ET

Who is dedicated to protect the patient, if not the medical boards and legal system? This is almost like legalized protection to commit murder. Really shameful!

There was no one more famous than MJ– and here we stil are. Who has to die next for our systems to change? What if others die at the hands of these doctors and Murray? Would things change THEN?

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