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Appellate Judge overrules all but a misdemeanor in Anna Nicole drug case

Howard K. Stern leaving court
Howard K. Stern leaving court

On Thursday, a California Judge for the court of appeal, overruled and through out all drug charges against Anna Nicole Smith's lawyer and boyfriend (California is the only state where a lawyer may sleep with his or her client), Howard K. Stern, and all but one against her former psychiatrist.

The case, which cost over a million dollars wound up resulting in only a $100 fine and one year of unsupervised probation for Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, Smith's former psychiatrist.

Former California Attorney General, Jerry Brown, pushed the charges two years ago. He will become governor of California for the second time, after winning the November election.

The only remaining count out of the original 23 charges filed against both individuals was one against Eroshevich for using a false name to write a Vicodin prescription for the actress.

The judge took obvious sympathy on the psychiatrist, stating "there is no doubt Dr. Eroshevich acted out of heartfelt desire to help her friend," Perry said as he reduced the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

In addition to her role as Smith's psychiatrist, Eroshevich was by Smith's side much of the time when she was grieving over the death of her son.

She stated she felt "completely vindicated" by Perry's decision to drop all the charges but the one misdemeanor.

"I can deal with that," Eroshevich said. "It's not going to be the end of the world. It's not a felony. It's not jail."

Stern, who was Smith's constant companion and adviser, said the judge's decisions were "vindication for Anna."

Perry, who Stern called "a very fair and honest judge," said it was his conclusion that Smith was not a drug addict under the legal definition in California law.

"Anna Nicole Smith had chronic pain syndrome," Perry said. "Her drug seeking was to relieve pain."

The doctors cared about Smith and were trying to help with her pain, he said.

"There is no doubt that some doctors are nothing more than pill pushers and they should be prosecuted and imprisoned," Perry said. "This case did not involve such doctors."

The use of fake names to protect celebrities' medical information is necessary in this "media-driven society," where a celebrity's medical records "could easily be misunderstood by the public and harmful to their career."

Perry cited the reports of Farrah Fawcett's medical information being leaked by employees at UCLA Medical Center when she was being treated for cancer.

District Attorney Steve Cooley (who, in an ironic twist, is soon to be California's new attorney general) issued a statement saying prosecutors "strongly disagree" with Perry's ruling, which he described as inconsistent with the judge's earlier rulings in the preliminary hearing and the trial.

"His decision denigrates the substantial investigative efforts conducted by the state Department of Justice and the Medical Board," the statement said. He added, "It diminishes the huge social problem of prescription drug abuse facilitated by irresponsible caretakers and unscrupulous medical professionals."

Cooley said he would seek to appeal the ruling.


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