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Jury Ponders [Dr. Heberle's] Fate

Lisa Thompson; Erie Times-News (PA); Last changed: 2006-05-22. Posted: 2006-05-27
Related resources:  Drug War Journalism and Advocacy Library
See also:
WAR ON PAIN SUFFERERS collection #10: Erie - Klees Imprisoned, Heberle Exonerated, Pain Patients Abandoned
WAR ON PAIN SUFFERERS special collections - Introduction and Table of Contents
War on Doctors/Pain Crisis blog and RSS feed
Heberle Vindicated! - DeLuca; blog entry; 2007-04-14

Jurors were to resume deliberations this morning in the trial of Dr. Paul Heberle.

The panel discussed the case for more than five hours Friday without deciding whether Heberle was guilty or not guilty of writing illegal narcotics prescriptions.

Heberle, 39, faces 15 counts of violating state drug laws and 13 counts of Medicaid fraud.

The trial, which started May 9, featured testimony from medical experts and Heberle's former patients and their families.

The prosecution alleges Heberle did not adhere to medical standards when he wrote prescriptions for powerful narcotics for several patients. It says two of those patients died.

"The crime comes in blatant disregard for safety in the way he prescribed these drugs," Senior Deputy State Attorney General Doug Wright told jurors in his closing argument.

The defense counters that Heberle prescribed medications to the patients out of compassion.

Many of the patients were former patients of David Klees, D.O., who was convicted of writing illegal prescriptions in 2002.

The patients needed treatment for their chronic pain, the defense said.

The trial is being held before Erie County Judge William R. Cunningham.

If convicted, Heberle could be sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $250,000 for each drug charge and seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines for each Medicaid fraud count.



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Originally posted: 2006-05-27

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