Lawyer: Ex-pain clinic owner sentenced to 20 years to appeal

Judge's gavel
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — The attorney for a Wisconsin woman sentenced to 20 years in prison on accusations she illegally prescribed opioids out of her pain clinic plans to appeal on grounds that a federal judge made a mistake.

U.S. District Chief Judge Pamela Pepper handed down the mandatory minimum sentence Friday for Lisa Hofschulz, 61, of Wauwatosa, after a jury in August convicted her of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. The jury found Hofschulz, who was a licensed nurse practitioner, responsible for the death of one patient.

Beau Brindley, Hofschulz’s attorney, told The Associated Press that Pepper failed to instruct the jury that a doctor’s “subjective good faith is a complete defense against these charges.” Brindley said a similar instruction was allowed in a case involving Dr. Charles Szyman, the operator of a Manitowoc pain clinic who was acquitted in 2017 of overprescribing narcotic medications.

Hofschulz and her ex-husband, Robert Hofschulz, owned and operated Clinical Pain Consultants in Wauwatosa. The indictment accused them of collecting more than $800,000 in 2015 and $1 million in 2016 by prescribing excessive dosages of opioids, particularly oxycodone and methadone, for no medical purpose.

Robert Hofschulz, who was the clinic’s business manager, was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison. His attorney, Jonathan Smith, did not return an email message seeking comment.