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Ex-Florence doctor tries to save freedom while case is appealed

Posted at 4:26 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 14:52:31-04

HELENA – The attorney for a former Florence doctor convicted of negligent homicide and over-prescribing medicines is asking the Montana Supreme Court to overlook confusion on filing dates, and give his client a chance to appeal his case.

Dr. Chris Christensen was convicted this past winter for the deaths of two patients and for over-prescribing or mis-prescribing opioids to patients at his clinic in Florence.

Christensen was sentenced a few months ago and granted his freedom while the case was appealed. But he was arrested last week after missing a deadline for filing the appeal with the Montana Supreme Court.

Now, Christensen’s attorney, Josh Van de Wetering, is asking the court to grant an “out of time” appeal, saying there was confusion over the dates for the case to be filed.

In his brief, Van de Wetering says Christensen is “in no way the cause of this error and should not suffer for it”. He argues the case is the first time a doctor has been convicted for over-prescribing drugs in Montana and has elements that should be reviewed by the court.

Meanwhile, Christensen is set to appear Wednesday morning before Judge Jeffery Langton in Ravalli County District Court on a motion to revoke his bail.

Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News