Felony trial abruptly ends with dismissal
Attorney Hannah McCausland won a dismissal this week for a client charged with prescription forgery after a pharmacist testified her client was not the person who came in and gave her a fake prescription, bringing the trial to an abrupt end.
The client had been charged with forged prescription for a controlled substance, a class C felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Trial was Aug. 28 in Clark County Superior Court.
McCausland asked for an “offer of proof,” which is done outside the presence of the jury, to make sure the pharmacist had the right person. The pharmacist said yes, that she had selected her client’s photograph from among the six mug shots shown to her by a detective with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Upon seeing McCausland’s client in court, however, she could say definitively that he was not the person who came into the pharmacy.
The deputy prosecuting attorney asked the pharmacist a few more questions to make sure she was certain that the defendant was not the person she’d seen, including whether there was a chance that his appearance may have changed since October, when she reported receiving the forged prescription.
The pharmacist was adamant that the defendant was not the same person who’d brought in the forged prescription.
After the surprising turn of events, the deputy prosecutor asked for time to call his office. After conferring with his office, he said he would dismiss the charge with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled. The client started crying, along with his mother, who had come to watch the trial.
Later, the deputy prosecutor contacted McCausland and said he was filing paperwork to dismiss a second felony charge for prescription fraud against her client. That case was scheduled to go to trial in October. It involved the same pharmacist, who confirmed Aug. 28 that McCausland’s client wasn’t the person in that incident, either.