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Criminal Justice

Panel Says La. Should Pay Katrina Doc’s $450K Defense Costs

Posted Mar 17, 2009 4:06 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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As one member called a Louisiana doctor who at one point was accused of criminally euthanizing patients in her care a hero, a panel today recommended that the state should pay some $450,000 in legal defense costs for Dr. Anna Pou.

After working at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, in extraordinarily substandard conditions immediately after Hurricane Katrina decimated the city in 2005, Pou was arrested in 2006 and accused of second-degree murder concerning alleged lethal injections of patients in her care there during the storm's aftermath. However, a grand jury refused to indict her in 2007, and her arrest record was subsequently expunged, recounts the Times-Picayune.

Now the panel is calling for the state to reimburse a legal defense fund and LSU Health Network for the attorney fees they paid on Pou's behalf, the newspaper reports.

"Katrina made villains, fools and it made heroes out of people," panel member and former state senator Ben Bagert told Rick Simmons, who represents Pou. "Your client is one of those who was a hero."

Sam D'Aquilla, representing Louisiana District Attorney's Association, was the one on the eight-member Attorney Fee Review Board to oppose the reimbursement recommendation, the newspaper writes. He says the legal bills, which apparently were redacted to protect confidential attorney-client information, aren't detailed enough.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Katrina Hospital Murder Case Closed, But Civil Cases Continue"

ABAJournal.com: "No Murder Charges for Katrina Doctor"

ABAJournal.com: "Nurses Testify in Katrina Hospital Deaths "

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