Drug-Trafficking Doctor Jailed for a Year in Belmont County
St. Clairsville urologist Rodney Lee Curtis II was back in Belmont County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday and learned that since the appeal of his conviction was denied, he will serve his one-year sentence for three counts of trafficking in drugs and two counts of possession of drugs.
Curtis, 65, was sentenced in February 2018 to six months in jail and six months at the Eastern Ohio Correction Center. He was released on bond, though, while the Seventh Appellate District Court of Appeals reviewed his case after his conviction was appealed. The court returned a decision Jan. 25 upholding the trial and conviction.
As a result of his trial at the end of January 2018, he was found guilty of conducting drug transactions involving Adderall and Suboxone with a confidential informant who was recording the interactions in April 2017. The informant was a former employee of Curtis, who previously was involved in a romantic relationship with the doctor. She became an informant for law enforcement while being investigated for writing false prescriptions on a pad belonging to Curtis.
The informant participated in two controlled drug buys. A police search of Curtis’ residence yielded Adderall and Suboxone.
Curtis challenged the subsequent court proceedings on several grounds, claiming there was no probable cause for a search warrant, that the state failed to disclose a recorded interview between an investigator from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the informant’s mother, and that the court erred when it denied a request from defense to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense of entrapment.
The appellate court unanimously ruled that giving or selling drugs without a prescription was sufficient probable cause for a search warrant, that the conversation was not material, and that the evidence was insufficient to support an affirmative defense instruction. According to the appellate court’s documents, entrapment is an affirmative defense where the defendant has the burden of proof by preponderance of evidence.
“However, there is no entrapment when government officials merely afford opportunities or facilities for the commission of the offense to a criminal defendant who was predisposed to commit the offense,” Judge Carol Ann Robb wrote in a statement. Appellate Judges Cheryl L. Waite and Kathleen Bartlett concurred.
Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato reaffirmed his sentence Wednesday and ordered Curtis taken into custody. Curtis originally had been given credit for 12 days served. An additional amount of time, estimated at possibly 40 days, will also be credited to Curtis’ sentence, reflecting the time he had served prior to being allowed to bond out for his appeal.
Fregiato ordered Curtis taken into custody Wednesday.
Curtis’ license to practice medicine is listed as suspended by the Ohio Medical Board. A hearing will be scheduled for further proceedings related to his licensure.
Pollock added that the board could decide on any disciplinary measure ranging from a permanent revocation to a reprimand, depending on the facts in the case.