State v. Moody, No. 80-K-1784

CourtSupreme Court of Louisiana
Writing for the CourtDENNIS; DIXON; WATSON, J., dissents for reasons assigned by DIXON; DIXON
Citation393 So.2d 1212
PartiesSTATE of Louisiana v. William M. MOODY.
Decision Date26 January 1981
Docket NumberNo. 80-K-1784

Page 1212

393 So.2d 1212
STATE of Louisiana
v.
William M. MOODY.
No. 80-K-1784.
Supreme Court of Louisiana.
Jan. 26, 1981.
Rehearing Denied March 2, 1981. *

William J. Guste, Jr., Atty. Gen., Barbara Rutledge, Asst. Atty. Gen., Ossie Brown, Dist. Atty., Richard Chaffin, Asst. Dist. Atty., for plaintiff-appellee.

Robert L. Kleinpeter, Kleinpeter, Kleinpeter & Kleinpeter, Baton Rouge, for defendant-appellant.

DENNIS, Justice.

The issue presented by this criminal appeal is whether the state must offer expert testimony in its case-in-chief in order to establish that the defendant, a licensed physician, prescribed a controlled dangerous substance for other than a legitimate medical purpose while acting in good faith in the usual course of his professional practice. We hold that expert testimony was unnecessary under the facts in this case and that the record contains ample evidence from which a rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly,

Page 1213

we affirm defendant's convictions and sentences.

The defendant was charged with eight counts of unlawful distribution of phentermine in violation of La.R.S. 40:967(A). After the close of the state's evidence in this bench trial, the defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal on all counts. La.C.Cr.P. art. 778. The trial judge granted his motion on counts one and two, but denied the motion as to the remaining counts. The defendant subsequently rested without presenting any evidence in his behalf. The trial judge found the defendant guilty on all six counts and sentenced him to a five year term of imprisonment at hard labor on each count to run concurrently. The judge suspended execution of the sentence and placed the defendant on active supervised probation with the special conditions that he provide 300 hours of service to a penal institution at no charge and pay a $1000 fine.

FACTS

The defendant's principal assignment challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, and thus, we will summarize the evidence in the record in some detail as related by the various drug enforcement agents who testified for the state.

The counts are based upon the defendant's prescribing phentermine, a controlled dangerous substance, La.R.S. 40:964 Schedule II(C)(6), to four undercover law enforcement agents posing as patients on separate occasions between September 6, 1977 and June 14, 1978. In each instance, an agent appeared at the doctor's office without an appointment and secured a prescription for phentermine with no physical examination or medical history being taken. The defendant charged twelve dollars cash for each prescription.

COUNTS 1 and 2

Counts one and two are based on Dr. Moody's prescribing phentermine to Tulley Vincent on September 6 and September 20, 1977. On Vincent's initial visit, the defendant's receptionist wrote the patient's name, address and place of employment on an index card. Vincent told the doctor that he was a student, worked at Exxon, partied frequently, and "needed something to keep up with the pace." The doctor did not conduct a physical examination or attempt in any way to construct a medical history of his patient. He instead wrote a prescription for thirty phentermine capsules and told Vincent that this should help. Vincent was in the examination room for less than two minutes. Before leaving he paid the receptionist the customary twelve dollar cash fee. Two weeks later, Vincent returned and asked the doctor for something stronger. The doctor then wrote another prescription for a different brand of phentermine capsules. With the exception that Vincent was weighed this time, the second visit was factually similar to the first. Neither of these counts are before us at this time since the trial judge, without written reasons, granted the motion for a judgment of acquittal on counts one and two. The trial judge apparently distinguished the remaining counts on the basis that the prescriptions in the latter counts were written upon the specific requests of the patients for particular controlled drugs.

COUNT 3

This count is based upon the defendant's prescribing phentermine capsules to Linda Bourgeois on May 2, 1978. Bourgeois had visited a week earlier at which time she told the defendant that she was an L.S.U. student and that she had been referred to the doctor by her employer, Carlos Carson. On May 2, she returned saying that she needed something stronger to keep her going during exams. She specifically requested some blue and clear capsules that she said had worked before. The doctor showed her some capsules fitting that description and wrote a prescription for a month's supply of phentermine capsules. Again the doctor conducted no physical examination in this perfunctory office visit and the usual flat cash fee was charged.

COUNTS 4-7

Each of these counts represent one office visit and one phentermine prescription issued by the defendant to agent James Benjamin.

Page 1214

Benjamin's first visit was on May 27, 1978 at which time he informed the doctor that he had been staying up late, working a lot, and needed something to keep him going. When the doctor said he would prescribe a milder stimulant, Benjamin objected, saying that "Crazy Carlos told me you would write a prescription for Fastin (a brand name for phentermine)." The doctor then wrote out a prescription for thirty capsules of the drug requested. The agent was perhaps weighed, but nothing further was asked of him.

Four days later, Benjamin returned and the defendant asked him if he needed more Fastin. The agent said that he did, but was unsure on cross-examination whether he offered the doctor any explanation...

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528 practice notes
  • Thibodeaux v. Vannoy, DOCKET NO. 2:18-cv-1599 SECTION P
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • 11 d3 Dezembro d3 2019
    ...560 (1979); State ex rel. Graffagnino v. King, 436 So.2d 559 (La.1983); State v. Duncan, 420 So.2d 1105 (La.1982); State v. Moody, 393 So.2d 1212 (La.1981). It is the role of the fact finder to weigh the respective credibility of the witness. Therefore, the appellate court should not second......
  • State v. Young, No. 19647
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 28 d5 Junho d5 1991
    ...N.E.2d 533, 537-38 (1987); State v. Vakas, 242 Kan. 103, 104-07, 744 Page 770 [185 W.Va. 339] P.2d 812, 813-15 (1987); State v. Moody, 393 So.2d 1212, 1214-15 (La.1981); State v. Fearing, 30 Md.App. 134, 137-38, 351 A.2d 896, 899-900 (1976); Commonwealth v. Comins, 371 Mass. 222, 232, 356 N......
  • State v. Latique, KA 18-622
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
    • 20 d3 Fevereiro d3 2019
    ...126 (1979) ; State ex rel. Graffagnino v. King , 436 So.2d 559 (La.1983) ; State v. Duncan , 420 So.2d 1105 (La.1982) ; State v. Moody , 393 So.2d 1212 (La.1981). It is the role of the fact finder to weigh the respective credibility of the witnesses, and therefore, the appellate court shoul......
  • State v. Brown, No. 2007-388.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
    • 3 d3 Outubro d3 2007
    ...126 (1979); State ex rel. Graffagnino v. King, 436 So.2d 559 (La.1983); State v. Duncan, 420 So.2d 1105 (La.1982); State v. Moody, 393 So.2d 1212 (La. 1981). It is the role of the fact finder to weigh the respective credibility of the witnesses, and therefore, the appellate court should not......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
527 cases
  • Thibodeaux v. Vannoy, DOCKET NO. 2:18-cv-1599 SECTION P
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • 11 d3 Dezembro d3 2019
    ...560 (1979); State ex rel. Graffagnino v. King, 436 So.2d 559 (La.1983); State v. Duncan, 420 So.2d 1105 (La.1982); State v. Moody, 393 So.2d 1212 (La.1981). It is the role of the fact finder to weigh the respective credibility of the witness. Therefore, the appellate court should not second......
  • State v. Young, No. 19647
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 28 d5 Junho d5 1991
    ...N.E.2d 533, 537-38 (1987); State v. Vakas, 242 Kan. 103, 104-07, 744 Page 770 [185 W.Va. 339] P.2d 812, 813-15 (1987); State v. Moody, 393 So.2d 1212, 1214-15 (La.1981); State v. Fearing, 30 Md.App. 134, 137-38, 351 A.2d 896, 899-900 (1976); Commonwealth v. Comins, 371 Mass. 222, 232, 356 N......
  • State v. Latique, KA 18-622
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
    • 20 d3 Fevereiro d3 2019
    ...126 (1979) ; State ex rel. Graffagnino v. King , 436 So.2d 559 (La.1983) ; State v. Duncan , 420 So.2d 1105 (La.1982) ; State v. Moody , 393 So.2d 1212 (La.1981). It is the role of the fact finder to weigh the respective credibility of the witnesses, and therefore, the appellate court shoul......
  • State v. Brown, No. 2007-388.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
    • 3 d3 Outubro d3 2007
    ...126 (1979); State ex rel. Graffagnino v. King, 436 So.2d 559 (La.1983); State v. Duncan, 420 So.2d 1105 (La.1982); State v. Moody, 393 So.2d 1212 (La. 1981). It is the role of the fact finder to weigh the respective credibility of the witnesses, and therefore, the appellate court should not......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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