Convicted physician Spurgeon Green wants government to pay for defense

Convicted Perry physician Spurgeon Green Jr., implicated in the death of one of his patients, is asking the government to pay for his defense after firing his attorney.

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 was also convicted of 32 counts of post-dating prescriptions and 12 other counts of wrongfully prescribing medications. Federal prosecutors at trial described his Perry practice as a “pill mill.”

Green was expected to be sentenced this week, but that’s now on hold.

U.S. District Court Judge C. Ashley Royal recently granted Green’s request to dismiss O. Hale Almand Jr. of Macon as his attorney.

At a recent status conference, Almand told the judge he would be unable to proceed with Green’s appeal “due to conflict with allegations” made by Green against him, according to court records.

Almand declined to comment, citing legal, ethical and client confidentiality restraints of the State Bar of Georgia.

Royal deferred the matter of appointment of legal counsel to U.S. Magistrate Judge Claude W. Hicks Jr., who will be charged with determining whether Green meets the indigence test to qualify for a court-appointed attorney.

Handwritten from the Dooly County jail, Green has filed motions on his own behalf, including one for acquittal and a new trial if the acquittal fails.

In a supplemental motion to the acquittal and new trial motion, Green alleged a violation of his right to assistance of counsel guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because Almand became ill as court proceedings were getting under way Sept. 29, which was day six of the seven-week long trial. The first witness had been on the stand for about seven minutes, according to court records, before court was recessed for the day. The trial resumed Oct. 2.

“Defendant was concerned about some periods of inattentiveness on the part of attorney Almand when the trial resumed and attorney Almand insisted that he was in good health,” Green wrote.

Court was also recessed later in the trial for a couple of days because Almand was out sick.

Green’s motion also includes other allegations including “prosecutorial misconduct.”

Green accused Houston County sheriff’s investigators Sgt. Wayne Franklin and Sgt. E.M. Quinones Jr. of perjury in regard to the authenticity of the doctor’s computer records and to alleged misrepresentation of those records during the trial.

He also accused federal prosecutors of misconduct as “participants in the perjured testimony” of segments of Franklin’s and Quinones’ testimony regarding the taped conversation between Green and Jack Smith, who wore a wire for investigators during an office visit. Green alleged that a pause or gap on the tape indicated tampering.

In earlier letters between Green and Almand, which Green filed into the court record, Green accused Almand of “incompetence and/or neglect” and for moving him forward “with a strategy that I did not understand.”

While Almand noted he wouldn’t mind if Green no longer needed his services, Almand appealed to Green to ensure that he had legal counsel before sentencing. He also had offered to file Green’s appeal for no additional fee but declined Green’s request to return $55,000 of $120,000 in legal fees paid by Green.

In addition to the convictions, the jury acquitted Green of wrongfully distributing medications that led to the death of six patients and found him not guilty of wrongfully prescribing medications that led to the serious bodily injury of five other patients who died. The jury was unable to reach a verdict in the seventh death charge.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 923-3109, extension 243.