State v. ChristensenAnnotate this Case
In a split decision, the Supreme Court reversed Defendant's negligent homicide convictions but upheld his convictions on nine counts of criminal endangerment and eleven counts of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs, holding that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Defendant's actions in prescribing narcotics was the cause in fact of the deaths of two of his patients.
After a jury trial, Defendant, a licensed medical doctor, was convicted of several crimes related to the repeated prescribing of copious amounts of opiates and other narcotics to eleven individuals. Two of Defendant's patients died from drug overdoses. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the convictions, holding (1) the State did not present sufficient evidence to establish that Defendant's actions were the direct cause of the two drug overdose deaths; and (2) Defendant was operating outside the bounds of a professional medical practice, and therefore, the exemption for medical practitioners acting within the course of a professional practice did not apply to the facts of this case.