Convicted Perry physician Spurgeon Green Jr., implicated in the death of one of his patients, is scheduled for sentencing in federal court this week after dismissing his attorney, winning approval for a court-appointed attorney and then unsuccessfully seeking to have his new attorney replaced.
Green faces 20 years to life in prison after a federal jury convicted him Nov. 6 of wrongfully prescribing medications that led to the serious bodily injury of a patient who died under his care.
Green also was convicted of 32 counts of postdating prescriptions and 12 other counts of wrongfully prescribing medications. During his trial, federal prosecutors described his Perry practice as a “pill mill.”
Unhappy with the way he was represented and maintaining his innocence, Green dismissed his attorney, O. Hale Almand Jr. of Macon, and successfully won approval for a court-appointed attorney.
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In late May, U.S. Magistrate Judge Claude W. Hicks Jr. appointed Macon attorney John R. Francisco to represent Green with the understanding that Green would reimburse the government for attorney’s fees and costs out of any assets that may later be determined to belong to him, according to federal court records.
This month, after Green’s first meeting with Francisco, Green wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal seeking to have Francisco removed as his attorney and for the court to appoint another attorney. Royal was the presiding judge during the seven-week-long jury trial, which included six days of deliberations. Green is scheduled to appear before Royal on Thursday for sentencing.
In a handwritten letter that Green penned at the Dooly County jail and is included in the court record, he wrote that he was “excited and appreciative” of Francisco’s appointment until their face-to-face meeting.
“He stated in a blatant, direct, cold and arrogant tone that I will die in prison,” Green said in the letter. “After that statement, I was devastated. ...
“It was a cruel statement and for that reason, I am very uncomfortable with his being my attorney.”
Green asked for the appointment of another attorney “who is sensitive to his client’s feelings and predicament.”
He also wrote Francisco a similar letter.
Because Francisco told Green that he would die in prison at the outset of their meeting, Green said that statement made it obvious to him that Francisco had a preconceived notion that he was guilty.
“In as much as I have maintained my innocence and continue to do so, your statement was devastating and it has dashed my hope of justice on appeal since you also stated that Judge Royal will deny my motions for the speedy trial act violations and my motion for acquittal or a new trial,” Green wrote.
At a recent hearing, Hicks denied Green’s motion for reappointment of counsel, finding “no basis, legal or otherwise” to replace Francisco as Green’s attorney, according to court records.
Noting the pending sentencing hearing, Hicks advised Green that he could either continue with Francisco as his attorney or represent himself. The judge also directed Francisco to continue with Green and be present at his sentencing, regardless of Green’s decision. Francisco declined to comment. U.S. Attorney Max Wood also declined to comment.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 923-3109, extension 243.