Copeland wins dismissal of criminal charges against doctor

Source: LA Times

Criminal charges against abortion practitioner dismissed

Van Nuys, CA -- An abor tionist with a long history of disciplinary actions by state officials was cleared of criminal charges of practicing medicine without a license.

Van Nuys Municipal Judge Leslie Dunn ruled that prosecutors could not prove that Gordon Sean Goei, who was arrested last month after a botched abortion, had read the notification that his license was suspended. The notice had been sent both by regular and registered mail.

Goei, 57, was arrested on suspicion of murder after paramedics rushed a 42-year-old mother to Northridge Hospital Medical Center on March 19 with uncontrollable bleeding (Life Advocate May/June 1998). Her aborted child, which authorities have said was 26 weeks old and could have survived outside the womb, was found in the trash at Family Planning Medical Group, the Van Nuys abortion facility where Goei worked.

Goei, whose license had been suspended March 13 by the Medical Board of California, was charged with practicing medicine without a license and performing an illegal abortion. Prosecutors at the time said that murder charges could not be sustained.

At a preliminary hearing Goei's roommate, Abraham Kasary, backed up the doctor's claim that Goei did not know his license was suspended. Kasary initially told police he left letters from the Medical Board, notifying Goie of the suspension, where Goie would find them, according to Trent Copeland, Goie's lawyer.

"The truth was he took the letters and he hid them intentionally in an effort to protect Dr. Goie from what he knew was bad news," Copeland said.

Kasary had lied initially because he knew that hiding the letters "was bad," Copeland said. Kasary brought all four letters to court.

Three were unopened, Copeland said.

Judge Dunn said she dismissed the case because prosecutors could not prove "willfulness." Prosecutors can refile the charges if they discover new evidence showing Goei knew his license was suspended.