Louis Hampers: Prosecutors want former ER doc to serve prison time for Rx drug fraud
Last month, defense attorneys for Louis Hampers filed a motion asking that the former doctor be sentenced to probation for the crime of writing phony prescriptions to feed his pill addiction. This week, prosecutors filed their own motion, arguing that he should instead be sentenced to the previously agreed-upon twelve to eighteen months in prison. "The defendant undoubtedly has saved lives," they wrote in reference to his medical career. "He has also risked them."
Though Hampers pleaded guilty to fourteen counts of prescription drug fraud in July 2011, he has yet to be sentenced. His sentencing hearing has been postponed several times. The last delay was due to the aforementioned motion from Hampers's attorneys, in which they argued that an "extensive treatment program" would do him more good than prison and that his previous medical achievements should be taken into consideration.
Prosecutors don't exactly agree. While his good deeds should be considered, they wrote, "they do not excuse the defendant's behavior and he must be held accountable to those victimized by his actions. Those same skills he previously used for the betterment of others, he tragically and dynamically put to use in the commission of his crimes."
Furthermore, they argue that addiction and the "voluntary use of drugs" aren't acceptable legal reasons to minimize a person's sentence. Prosecutors say their number-one concern is public safety. "There must be consideration of the fact that the defendant admits to abusing pills while working at the emergency department of Children's Hospital," they wrote. "The fact that there was no harm to any patients at Children's Hospital is a credit to the physicians and staff at Children's Hospital -- not the defendant." They say Hampers also subjected his co-workers to "hostile actions" and put their careers at risk "by forging prescriptions using their prescribing authority."
They also cite Hampers's behavior outside of work, including charges of harassment against "a local TV news personality" -- Deborah Sherman, formerly of 9News.
"Combined with reports of threatening behavior within the workplace, the defendant's actions -- driven by addiction or not -- are of the utmost concern to the government when considering an appropriate sentence," they wrote.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn, who is presiding over the case, has not yet set a date for Hampers sentencing hearing. Check the Latest Word for updates.
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Dr. Louis Hampers, accused of stalking Deborah Sherman: No extra house arrest freedoms."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.