Nearly seven years after his clinic was raided in Florence, Chris Christensen has been ordered to begin his 10 year prison sentence this coming March.

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright, the man who prosecuted Christensen, said that it’s time for the convicted man to serve his term in the Montana State Prison.

“This case is now back at the trial court for imposition of the sentence,” said Fulbright. “You may recall that the case was appealed to the Montana Supreme Court and the Court upheld 20 of the 22 felony convictions. So Christensen remains convicted of illegal distribution of opiates and endangering the lives of patients.”

The case has been transferred to Missoula District Judge Jason Marks, and Fulbright said Judge Marks has put off Christensen’s imprisonment until the spring for medical reasons.

“Judge Marks did not lift the stay yet, but said that he's going to issue an order and give us a date certain in March of 2021, when that prison sentence will start,” he said. “His rationale for that is because of Christensen's health and age that he would be able to have an opportunity to try and get vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to starting this prison sentence.”

Fulbright said that the Christensen sentence has no opportunity for appeal or reduction once it begins.

“Any day I expect will receive a written order that sets a specific date in March of 2021 for Christensen to turn himself; to surrender and begin his prison sentence,” he said. “Right now he's facing a 10 year prison sentence that has no time suspended. There's no discretion left.”

Fulbright, who spent years prosecuting the case, said the time has come for Christensen to pay for his crimes.

“It is time to get it completed,” he said. “That was the message I took to Judge Marks. And don't get me wrong. I have a high degree of respect for Judge (James) Lankton, and a high degree of respect for Judge Marks. “Both made the decision to delay the start of that sentence. I personally believe it should be different. We've asked for that sentence to be started for two and a half years now. I believe it's time for it to start.”

Christensen was originally charged with two counts of negligent homicide, but those charges were dismissed. However, 20 of the 22 other charges were allowed to stand. Christensen’s medical license was suspended and then revoked after his conviction for prescribing prescription medication outside the scope of a medical practice.

Fulbright had originally asked for a 200-year prison sentence.

 

CHECK IT OUT: 10 Items Might Be in Short Supply This Winter