Macon County Chronicle

Appeal Denied in Ladd Case

Former Macon County physician Robert Ladd recently appeared before the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, in Nashville, to appeal the denial for pretrial diversion, refused to him by the Assistant District Attorney General (ADA) in 2006.
Ladd’s appeal from Macon County Criminal Court, was denied by the Appellate Court, which affirmed the ADA’s denial of pretrial diversion.

Ladd appeared before the February 2006 Macon County Grand Jury on charges of writing morphine and Oxyxontin prescriptions for a female TennCare member in exchange for sexual favors, between April 25 and September 8, 2004. He was indicted and arraigned on three counts of aiding and abetting in TennCare fraud, at which point he filed the application for pretrial diversion.

Ladd then filed a writ of certiorari with the trail court, which affirmed the ADA’s decision and found that he did not abuse his discretion. With the trial court’s findings not in his favor, Ladd then filed an appeal.

The ADA originally denied Ladd’s application for pretrial diversion based on the following five reasons, which were found relevant, and to be supported by a preponderance of evidence, in Appellate Court:

1.    The Defendant, a licensed doctor being in a role of trust with his patients, knowingly committed a fraud for sexual favors.

2.    The Defendant, a licensed doctor, knowingly committed a fraud against a state program designed to aid persons without insurance.

3.    The crimes are dangerous because medication is being prescribed to persons who will likely abuse the medicine.

4.    The crimes, considering the Defendant’s history with over-prescribing medication, show the need for deterrence with this individual.

5.    Diversion would not meet the ends of justice and would be against public policy.

In Ladd’s appeal he argued that the ADA focused on irrelevant issues and showed an unwillingness to consider factors that weighed in favor of pretrial diversion, claims that were found to be unsupported by the evidence in the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Pretrail Diversion Statute allows the District Attorney General to suspend the prosecution of an eligible defendant for a period of up to two years, with an eligible defendant defined as someone who has (a) not been previously granted pretrial diversion (b) does not have a disqualifying prior conviction or (c) is not seeking pretrial diversion for a Class A felony, Class B felony, certain Class C felonies, a sexual offense, driving under the influence or vehicular assault.