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Iowa physician acquitted of involuntary manslaughter charges

A strong legal defense can protect the rights and freedom of those wrongly accused of prescription drug crimes. Prosecutors sometimes pursue criminal charges even when the evidence does not support the allegations. In any case, individuals accused of drug crimes should mount a strong criminal defense to minimize the negative repercussions of a charge.

In 2012 a prominent Iowa pain-management specialist was accused of being reckless in handing out prescriptions for very strong medications. He was also accused of prescribing potentially addictive drugs to patients who showed clear signs of addiction. Prosecutors alleged that the doctor's actions led to the deaths of several of his patients.

The 51-year-old doctor was charged with nine counts of involuntary manslaughter, but two of those charges were subsequently dismissed by the presiding judge, who said the prosecution didn't have enough evidence to present to the jury.

The defense pointed out that after their deaths, none of the deceased patients tested positively for large amounts of the drugs prescribed by the doctor. The defense also called on experts to testify that at least three of the patients most likely died from heart complications and not drug overdoses, and at least one of the patients was believed to have committed suicide.

The prosecution's case not only appeared weak to the jurors, but at times it seemed to be its own worst enemy. A psychiatrist testifying for the prosecution stated that he, not the doctor on trial, was responsible for prescribing the drugs used in one patient's overdose.

The doctor was acquitted on all counts. An alternate juror who was interviewed after the verdict stated that it became clear early on that the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence. The alternate juror went on to say that he was puzzled as to why the doctor was even on trial.

Source: The Des Moines Register, "Baldi, acquitted on all charges, wants to return to work," Tony Leys, May 2, 2014

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