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Court says judge erred in tossing convictions in Anna Nicole Smith case

By Andrew Blankstein and Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — A California appellate court ruled Thursday that a judge erred when he threw out convictions against Anna Nicole Smith’s lawyer and psychiatrist in a trial related to the death of the actress-model from prescription drugs.

The ruling sends the case of psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich and Howard K. Stern, Smith’s boyfriend and lawyer, back to trial in Judge Robert J. Perry’s downtown Los Angeles courtroom.

The opinion is a procedural victory of sorts for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Prosecutors had no immediate comment because they had not read the entire ruling.

In 2011, Perry threw out two conspiracy convictions each against Eroshevich and Stern, saying prosecutors hadn’t shown that the two intended to break the law when they used fake names to acquire powerful sedatives and painkillers for Smith.

Perry’s ruling cleared Stern of all charges and left Eroshevich with one misdemeanor conviction — a surprising ending to a case that began with three defendants facing a total of 23 felony charges. Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Smith’s primary care physician, was acquitted of all counts by the jury.

But in the 34-page decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeal, Judge P.J. Turner wrote for the majority that conspiracy charges in the case of both defendants should be reinstated and that they should be re-sentenced.

In Stern’s case, the court stated that “under no circumstances” should he be retried. Eroshevich could potentially be subject to a retrial, but the trial court must decide the other issues raised by the doctor’s request “for dismissal; for a new trial; or to reduce the felonies to misdemeanors.”

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