MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Lawyers for a doctor convicted of writing illegal prescriptions for painkiller have asked a judge to delay her sentencing until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a pair of cases that might impact it.
A federal jury in Mobile in August found Dr. Cykeetra “Che Che” Maltbia guilty of 15 counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
She is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
The court filing asks U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Beaverstock to order a new trial and then put the case on hold until after the high court ruling. The lawyers cited two similar cases that the Supreme Court will hear next year involving similar issues.
“The issues contained in the petition for writ certiorari in each of these cases are directly applicable to the facts, trial, indictment, and legal issues surrounding the case of U.S. v. Chykeetra Maltbia,” they wrote.
Those issues revolve around whether a defendant in a prescription drug case can argue that in “good faith” he or she “reasonably believed” the prescriptions fell within the course of professional practice. The defense argues that the controlling precedent in the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – which covers Alabama – was “quite stringent” at the time of Maltbia’s trial and may be overturned by the high court.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Mobile this week countered that a motion for a new trial is inappropriate in this case.
“For starters, Maltbia has not raised any ‘newly discovered evidence’ that could bring her present motion within the more liberal contours” of the rule providing for a new trial,” the filing states.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office response argues that the Supreme Court has not even indicated whether it will address the specific issues cited by the defense.
“Maltbia’s motion to postpone her sentencing hearing is grounded merely in speculation that a merits decision from the Supreme Court could affect legal arguments in her case,” the filing states. “This Court should not postpone proceedings in this case, though, based on such speculation. As a threshold matter, any impact of a future decision on Maltbia’s case is speculative at best.”