The 2nd District Court of Appeal overturns a previous decision that threw out conspiracy convictions against Howard K. Stern who provided prescription drugs to the late model.
Howard K. Stern is yet to be cleared of all charges in conspiracy that led to Anna Nicole Smith's death. L.A. Superior Court Judge Robert Perry previously vacated two convictions against the lawyer and manager of the Playboy Playmate, but the Second District Court of Appeal overturned the decision on Thursday, October 18.
A three-judge panel didn't agree with Perry's decision, stating that there's enough evidence to support the conspiracy convictions. "His knowledge and involvement was such the jury could reasonably conclude Mr. Stern, a lawyer, knowingly participated in the ongoing illegal practice of securing illegal prescriptions," Presiding Justice Paul Turner wrote in a collective ruling.
Though so, the ruling noted that Stern couldn't be retried because it would constitute double jeopardy. Thus, if Perry agrees with Stern's motion for a new trial, he has to dismiss the case. "We express no opinion on how the trial court should exercise its discretion," the ruling added.
Double jeopardy on the conspiracy charges, however, doesn't apply to Smith's psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich, who's another defendant in the case. She had been sentenced by Perry to a year of probation and fined $100 for a misdemeanor. She's left with one conviction for using a false name to obtain Vicodin and is eligible for retrial.
Anna Nicole Smith died on February 8, 2007 at 39 years old as a result of an overdose of prescription drugs, which were provided by Stern and Eroshevich. It was acknowledged that 11 prescriptions were written by Dr. Eroshevich, and some of the drugs were prescribed to Stern, not Smith.