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Drug charges against nurse are dropped by state attorney general

When a jury is deadlocked and cannot decide on the defendant's guilt or innocence, the government must decide whether to bring the charges again. Where the jury also acquitted the defendant on several charges in the same trial, that may be some indication of an all-around weak case on the prosecution's part. These are the general facts surrounding the decision of the New Hampshire Attorney General's office to drop the remaining drug charges against a formerly licensed nurse who was arrested for allegedly diverting drugs from Concord Hospital.

The jury had acquitted her of four drug counts and deadlocked on the seven others. The defendant herself made a statement after the dismissal of charges in which she criticized the state for wasting its time and money on going after a nurse because of the state's problems regarding heroin addictions and overdoses. She is considering a lawsuit against Concord Hospital for hastily dismissing her and not letting her give an explanation of the charges against her.

She said that many of the drug diversions were actually ordered by doctors verbally, but there were apparently no paper records of the actions. The jury apparently largely believed the nurse's testimony that she was simply trying to do her job in the face of inconsistent directions and rules from the hospital's administration. The attorney general's office dismissed the charges after reviewing its evidence and after considering information from jurors who had heard the case this past May.

The nurse's attorney commented that the issue boiled down to whether there were authorized orders for the drugs. Doctors were in the habit of giving oral orders for narcotic drugs to nurses, according to the defense argument in the matter. The drug charges are based on very specific criminal code prohibitions regarding the diversion and administration of scheduled drugs in New Hampshire. The high burden that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt was apparently too stringent for the state to meet.

Source: bangordailynews.com, "New Hampshire drops drug charges against former Maine nurse ??? Midcoast ??? Bangor Daily News ??? BDN Maine", Stephen Betts, Aug. 25, 2016

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