Yes, the Anna Nicole saga lives on! No long drawn out article necessary plus I’m out of practice since I hung up my blogging hat. The good news is that Judge Perry’s acquittals were overturned. The bad news is no retrial for Stern. Perry made sure of that. Perry can also let Stern off with tiny slap if he again so desires.
I would hope there can be some motion filed to remove Judge Perry from the case. He disrespected the jury by overturning their decisions and the appellate court agreed via their rulings.
Eroshevich was not so protected as Stern and can face a retrial.
Check out what the California Appeals court said about Judge Robert Perry’s shenanigans.
C. Mr. Stern
1. There Was Sufficient Evidence For A Rational Jury To Convict Mr. Stern Of The Conspiracies Charged In Counts 1 And 3
As noted, the trial court’s new trial order was premised on the conclusion that no rational jury could find Mr. Stern was guilty of the conspiracy charges in counts 1 and 3. Before discussing the effects of the trial court’s findings, we address the pure legal issue of whether there was substantial evidence to support the counts 1 and 3 verdicts.
There was sufficient evidence for a rational jury to convict Mr. Stern of the charged conspiracies. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the jury reasonably could have found as follows. Mr. Stern was intimately involved in procuring and dispensing medication to Ms. Marshall over an extended period of time. Mr. Stern accompanied Ms. Marshall to medical appointments, consulted with her physicians, obtained her medications and administered them to her. Ms. Marshall befriended Dr. Eroshevich.
Thereafter, it was agreed, expressly or tacitly, that Dr. Eroshevich would provide Ms. Marshall with controlled substances. The quantity of drugs exceeded those prescribed by Ms. Marshall’s treating physicians. Mr. Stern participated with Dr. Eroshevich in procuring controlled substances for Ms. Marshall. He did so with knowledge Dr. Eroshevich was not Ms. Marshall’s treating physician and no medical records were being kept.
There is evidence Mr. Stern knowingly participated in conduct designed to avoid detection and scrutiny. Mr. Stern knew Dr. Eroshevich’s prescriptions were written in names other than Ms. Marshall’s, including his own, and were filled at varying pharmacies. Mr. Stern knew that Dr. Eroshevich filled prescriptions in the name Vickie Marshall at one pharmacy and in the name Anna N. Smith at another. Neither pharmacy was used by Ms. Marshall’s treating physicians. Mr. Stern knew Dr. Eroshevich prescribed controlled substances for Ms. Marshall’s use to: Anna N. Smith; Vickie Marshall; Wesley Irwin; Mr. Stern; Howard K. Stearn; Ben Stern; and Charlene Underwood. Mr. Stern knew multiple doctors were prescribing controlled substances and other medications to Ms. Marshall. Mr. Stern also knew that her treating physicians were unaware of that fact. On one day in June 2006, for example, Dr. Kapoor prescribed Zoloft, an anti-depressant, and lorazepam (Ativan), a controlled substance, to Michelle Chase. The prescriptions were filled at Key Pharmacy. At the same time, Dr. Eroshevich prescribed Zoloft and lorazepam in higher quantities to Howard K. Stearn. Those prescriptions were filled at the grocery store pharmacy. Mr. Stern admitted to investigators prescriptions written in his name were intended for Ms. Marshall.
When Ms. Marshall became pregnant and detoxification was indicated, Mr. Stern and Dr. Eroshevich knowingly side-stepped Dr. Kapoor’s detoxification efforts. They provided Ms. Marshall with controlled substances that were inconsistent with the detoxification plan. During their stay in the Bahamas, Mr. Stern, Dr. Eroshevich, and other members of Ms. Marshall’s entourage, went to great lengths to secure medication, including controlled substances. These narcotics were given to Ms. Marshall.
Dr. Eroshevich was unable to secure prescriptions in the name Michelle Chase through Drs. Kapoor and Freeman. Dr. Eroshevich then resorted, with Mr. Stern’s knowledge, to the use of other names: Howard K. Stearn; Wesley Irwin; Charlene Underwood; and Ben Stern. Mr. Stern, who was caring for Ms. Marshall in the United States and Bahamas, including administering medications to her, was impliedly aware of these facts. Mr. Stern was physically present in the United States and the Bahamas when Ms. Marshall was ingesting the drugs with prescriptions in other person’s names. His knowledge and involvement was such the jury could reasonably conclude Mr. Stern knowingly participated in the ongoing practice of securing illegal prescriptions.
Mr. Stern argues that, as a matter of law, he could in good faith believe the widespread procurement of controlled substances utilizing false names was legal. This argument has no merit. His knowledge and involvement was such the jury could reasonably conclude Mr. Stern, a lawyer, knowingly participated in the ongoing illegal practice of securing illegal prescriptions. The prescriptions were secured unsupervised by treating physicians or pharmacists and without medical documentation. The controlled substances were procured for Ms. Marshall with the fraudulent use of multiple names other than her own. The jury could reasonably have concluded that a lawyer would know such ongoing and unrelenting fraudulent activity was unlawful.
Mr. Stern argues that since in limited circumstances over a several years period medical professionals used aliases for Ms. Marshall, he reasonably believed he could participate in the scheme. No doubt, in light of how the jury was instructed, Mr. Stern could posit such an argument to the jury in support of his defense he acted in good faith. But such a problematic state of mind by anybody, much less a lawyer, does not constitute a defense as a matter of law given the facts of this case.
Links to the documents:
Appellate Court Case Page
PDF Opinion Document
*Anna Nicole Smith’s son Daniel was also killed by the same drugs but a Bahamian Coroners court ruled his death was accidental. In other words, they didn’t want to deal with it.
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