Jasper Doctor, 72, Gets 3-Year Federal Sentence For Over-Prescribing Pills

Friday, May 09, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

Former Jasper, Tn. doctor Charles Howe on Thursday was sentenced to serve three years in federal prison and to pay a $14,000 fine for illegally prescribing pain pills. Howe's medical license has also been revoked.

According to federal prosecutor Gregg Sullivan, law enforcement became aware that Howe was improperly prescribing pills when various people reported it was easy to get a pain pill prescription from him.

Law enforcement also noticed that in cases of illegal possession of pills in the area, those pills could be traced back to those written by Howe.

At this point, law enforcement began to observe Howe. From watching his clinic, they saw him meet with various women who were not current patients. When officials interviewed some of these women, they learned they were receiving prescriptions even though they were not patients.

Prosecutor Sullivan also pointed out some of these former patients had a known history of drug abuse.

He said that doctors are the "gatekeepers" with potentially dangerous drugs, and that Howe "failed to keep these drugs off the street."

Defense attorney John Cameron Jr. told the court, "Before you stands a gentleman, 72 years of age. He described Howe as "a productive member of society and a devoted husband, father, and physician."

He continued, "Unfortunately, the writing of one prescription outside the confines of his office led us to the circumstances we're in today."

Attorney Cameron asked the court to consider that the defendant's wife would be significantly affected by his absence, as she currently has chronic health problems.

He said, "My client wasn't running a pill mill where there was some scheme or design to improve his financial position."

However, prosecutor Sullivan told Judge Curtis Collier, "I don't know how many times you've heard a male or female stand before you and say, 'My family needs me.'"

He added, "That's not a consequence of our system, it's a consequence of his actions."

The prosecutor added, "We have a drug problem in this country, and the number one drug problem is prescription pills."

When given the chance to speak, Howe said, "This problem that brings me here today is most embarrassing. I don't pretend to understand it, but I do know the result...I failed my family. I failed my church. I failed my profession."


Man Wanted For Philadelphia Double Murder Caught In Bradley County

A man wanted for a double homicide out of Philadelphia, Pa., was arrested early Tuesday in Bradley County. M embers of the Bradley County Criminal Investigations Division conducted a traffic stop on I-75 Northbound at the 29 mile marke. Upon interviewing those in the vehicle, it was determined one was wanted on the murders. He was taken into custody and has been booked ... (click for more)

Collegedale Near Completion Of Land Use Plan; New Greenway Eyed

Mayor John Turner said 10 years ago Collegedale chose to be pro-active when it came to growth. The goal was for the city to look as if had been planned as it developed. Now Collegedale is one of the fasting growing cities in Hamilton County. The city’s planning commission is nearing the end of the process to develop a new land use plan - the second one created in the last 30 years. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Election Day Fable

Every day I am peppered with emails that friends send to me from across the country so I am unsure of where the fable you are about to read originated. But with early voting for the November general election now in full swing, I think everyone who will -- or will not -- take part in freedom’s greatest privilege should read this story because I believe there is a great lesson contained ... (click for more)

Tennessee Wastes No Time Shifting Attention To Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – L ittle time had passed following Tennessee's 34-3 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night before the challenge that lies ahead this week crossed the mind of the UT staff. In past years, a loss of that type could have had a lasting impact on the psyche of the team. But  Tennessee coach Butch Jones   still sees his team progressing, both mentally ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)