News of the Weird

  • by: Chuck Shepherd
  • Updated: September 12, 2007 - 4:21 PM

Until a Florida appeals court ruling in July, Mark O'Hara, 45, had been in prison for two years of a 25-year mandatory-minimum sentence for trafficking in hydrocodone, based solely on the 58 tablets found in his possession in 2004, even though his supply had been lawfully prescribed by a physician. The state attorney in Tampa had pointed out that Florida law did not mention a "prescription" defense to trafficking, and even though O'Hara had lined up a doctor and a pharmacist to testify, the jury wasn't allowed to consider the issue. After the appeals court called the case "absurd" and ordered a new trial with the prescription evidence allowed, the state attorney still refused to drop the case.

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