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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Convicted Pill Pusher Too Fat and Sick For Prison

     Steven Goodman, a 70-year-old former pharmacist and resident of Treasure Island, Florida, a gulf coast community of 7,000, pleaded guilty in 2012 to supplying more than one million oxycodone and other prescription pain pills to illegal pain management clinics throughout south Florida. Illicit prescription drug lords Christopher and Jeffrey George were already serving prison terms in connection with the $40 million pain mill operation.

     At Goodman's federal sentencing hearing in Tampa, defense attorney Edward Page argued that his client's health problems--morbid obesity (551 pounds), sleep apnea, heart fibrillation, high blood pressure, gout, and arthritis--rendered him too sick for prison. Moreover, the prescription pill pusher couldn't dress or feed himself and was too fat for the standard prison cot.

     In light of Goodman's physical condition, U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra sentenced the defendant to thirty months of house arrest followed by four years of probation. The judge also fined Goodman $25,000. (Because of his obesity and health problems this man was already confined to his house.)

     Attorney Page, in July 2014, was back in court before Judge Marra. According to the defense lawyer, his client had just one to three years to live. Because Mr. Goodman wanted to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit family and friends before he died, attorney Page asked the judge to lift Goodman's house arrest sentence.

     In denying the attorney's motion, Judge Marra said, "But for the defendant's obesity, he would have been given a prison sentence. To reduce the period of home confinement would result in the elimination of the only real form of punishment Mr. Goodman has received in this case." 

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