New Castle News

September 17, 2013

Doctor’s sentencing delayed, mistrial sought

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Sentencing for Dr. Van Edward Scott has been re-scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 29.

Scott, 61, was convicted in June on 10 of the 14 charges against him. Guilty verdicts were returned on six counts of prescribing outside accepted treatment principles/prescribing not in good faith in the course of professional practice and one count each of prescribing to a drug-dependent person, obstructing administration of law or other governmental functions, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

He was a pain doctor who lived in New Wilmington and operated a pain management clinic in Neshannock Township.

Scott had been scheduled to be sentenced Monday by Lawrence County President Judge Dominick Motto, but defense attorney J.J. Sandlin of Yakima, Wash., asked for a mistrial.

He contended one of the jury members should have been disqualified.

Sandlin presented a sworn affidavit and testimony from attorney Stanley T. Booker that Booker’s ex-wife, Chastity King Williams, “has a profound, negative opinion regarding prescription medication.

“She believes that doctors systematically over-prescribe medication,” Booker said.

He testified this belief stems from her brother’s problems with drug addiction and is so strong, she prohibited their teenage daughter from taking an antidepressant medication prescribed by a physician.

Booker also said he had discussed Scott with his former wife in the course of preparing a defense for another client. He said these and other things in his ex-wife’s background should have disqualified her from the jury.

Called as a witness by Maureen Sheehan-Balchon of the Attorney General’s Drug Strike Task Force in Butler, Williams said she has no prejudice against prescription medication or doctors who prescribe them. She noted she has friends in the medical field.

In the case of her daughter, she said, after consulting with acquaintances, she opted for her daughter not to take drugs for depression, saying, “I felt she was a little spoiled and medication was not appropriate.”

She noted that when the same daughter had dental surgery, she saw to it that the child received prescribed pain medication following that procedure.

Williams also said she never had discussed a case with her ex-husband, had not known of Scott until she was called to serve on the jury and her brother’s drug addiction had no bearing on her thoughts on medication.

She also said she had tried hard not to be selected for the jury, disclosing she had been married to a defense attorney (Booker) and that her aunt had been a deputy attorney general in Connecticut.

To a claim that she knows one of the witnesses called in the case, Williams said she had known the woman by another name when she was growing up, and was not aware it is the same woman until she saw her on the witness stand.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)