Monday, July 26, 2010

Pot-Smoking Medical Examiner Indicted

The pot-possessing Coroner of Tennessee and Mississippi, Dr. Bruce Levy entered a not guilty plea on a felony possession indictment according to a report at the Tennessean.  As you will recall Bad Lawyer reported on this story back in March.

The current story--which I'm sure will find its way into a plot line of an episode of Law and Order, is reported by Brian Haas:Former Davidson County and state Medical Examiner Bruce Levy was indicted Tuesday on charges of possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana in Mississippi.

Levy had been arrested in March after authorities say a drug dog sniffed marijuana in a package bound for his Ridgeland, Miss., hotel. State narcotics agents searched the hotel room and found even more marijuana, authorities have said. In all, police estimate they found more than 40 grams of drugs.

On Tuesday, Levy appeared in a Madison County courtroom to be served with the indictment and be arraigned. 'I have no comment about the case,' said Levy's attorney, David Raybin. 'Dr. Levy ... entered a plea of not guilty.' Levy, who has been free on $25,000 bond, could face 20 years in prison if convicted of the felony charge.

Levy had been Tennessee's head medical examiner since 1998 and was president and CEO of Forensic Medical in Nashville. He served as Davidson County's medical examiner and contracted in Mississippi to do autopsies there as well.

He has been suspended from working in any of those locations.But Levy's troubles may not be limited to Mississippi.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation wrapped up an investigation into Levy's activities in Tennessee earlier this year. There had been worries that the drugs could have been stolen from corpses that his office received. The Davidson County District Attorney General's Office continues to investigate whether Levy compromised any criminal cases.
As I said back in March, I can imagine that there are quite a few habeus corpus petitions being filed in the wake of this guy's arrest.  Any conviction based on his expert testimony has to be subject to strict examination.  More to come I'm sure.

By the way a very similar scenario is playing out in San Francisco with the crime lab director under arrest for theft of drugs, and major issues relating to "forensic evidence."

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