Bitterroot Valley Doctor Denied Public Defender Services – Trial Set For Next October [YouTube]
Dr. Chris Christensen of Florence, charged with two counts of negligent homicide and hundreds of counts of over-prescribing medication , has been denied the services of a public defender.
Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright told KGVO News that the public defender's office submitted a motion to withdraw their services, due to Christensen's present financial condition.
"The only reason the public defender's office can deny their services is if the defendant does not qualify based on their assets and or income," Fulbright said. "The public defender's office is there to provide a solid defense to those charged with a crime who are deemed to be indigent. Since Dr. Christensen has posted a $200,000 bond, he is now free to make arrangements for his own defense."
Fulbright said Christensen faces two counts of negligent homicide, as well as nearly 400 counts of over prescribing medication, or practicing medicine without a license.
"The two charges of negligent homicide are for prescribing methadone outside of the course and scope of his practice, and two people lost their lives," he said. "There are also 398 other drug charges. Just the sheer volume of the charges mandates that the Ravalli County District Court has set aside a four-week block of time for the trial."
Christensen is free on bond, and his license to practice medicine has been revoked. His trial is scheduled for October, 2016.