published Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Alabama appeals court tosses charges against Birmingham doctor

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A state appeals court has upheld the dismissal of drug charges against a Birmingham physician.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 4-0 Friday that Shelby County Circuit Judge Dan Reeves was correct when he dismissed three counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances and three counts of trafficking in illegal drugs against Dr. Jerry B. Hankins of Birmingham.

Prosecutors appealed the judge's decision to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which ruled that the drug laws used to arrest Hankins do not apply to a licensed physician writing a prescription.

The Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force arrested Hankins in April 2011 when he was running an opiate treatment center in Chelsea. The task force accused him of using the clinic to distribute controlled drugs.

The physician's attorney, Bill Bowen, said Hankins was pleased with the strong ruling in his favor. He said Hankins is still practicing medicine, but is no longer associated with the clinic in Chelsea.

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