Judge postpones sentence for West Palm Beach doctor, takes issue with plea deal

Posted at 5:16 AM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 17:35:53-05


Judge Dina Keever postponed sentencing Tuesday, citing a disagreement between a plea entered by the state and attorneys for Dr. John Christensen.

Attorney Richard Lubin said both parties agreed Christensen's sentence would run coterminous and concurrent with his sentence for a federal charge of healthcare fraud.

Lubin says the federal judge sentenced Christensen to one year and should therefore only serve a year for the manslaughter charge up for sentencing Tuesday.

State prosecutors admitted they entered the plea thinking the court would sentence Christensen to five years.

Judge Keever agreed with the state, arguing that a year was not enough for the crimes committed. Keever is now looking into the details of the plea to determine if she is bound by the agreement given the preliminary 'OK' during a plea conference.

Sentencing is now scheduled for December 28 at 10:00 a.m.



A former West Palm Beach doctor once charged with murder will be sentenced Tuesday.

Dr. John Christensen took a plea deal in September and could now be locked up for five years.

Christensen pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone. In September he told the court he was taking the plea because it was in his "best interest."

Christensen didn’t admit fault for the overdose death of his two patients but did think taking the plea would improve his chances at a better deal.