At a Glance . . .

 Area surgeon indicted on fraud charges

DETROIT (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a Detroit-area surgeon who is accused of defrauding insurers and patients over back surgeries that weren’t performed.

Dr. Aria Sabit has been in custody since November 24 when he was charged in a criminal complaint.

 The indictment now trumps that filing.

Sabit pleaded not guilty last week.

The government says Sabit submitted spinal surgery claims of $15 million to Medicaid, Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan since 2011.

The indictment describes some patients who didn’t have back surgeries that were promised but didn’t know until another doctor examined them.

The Bloomfield Hills man surrendered his California medical license last summer after similar malpractice allegations.

 

High court to hear appeal from Louisiana death row inmate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from a death-row inmate in Louisiana who claims he should not be executed because he is mentally disabled.

Kevan Brumfield was convicted in the shooting death of off-duty Baton Rouge police Cpl. Betty Smothers in 1993.

A federal judge ruled that Brumfield was mentally disabled and thus protected from execution under a Supreme Court decision in 2002.

But the federal appeals court in New Orleans reversed the judge's ruling. 

The justices said recently they will review that ruling and the case will be argued in March.

Brumfield and Henri Broadway of Baton Rouge were convicted and sentenced to death for ambushing Smothers on Jan. 7, 1993 as she was driving a grocery store manager to make a bank deposit. 

Smothers, 36, was working as an off-duty security officer at the time.

The manager was shot several times but survived the attack.

Smothers was the mother of former NFL running back Warrick Dunn, who was 18 at the time of the killing.

Judge receives public reprimand for shoplifting

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A retired Vermont judge has received a public reprimand for a series of shoplifting complaints made against him by three Montpelier businesses.

The Burlington Free Press reports the ruling by the Vermont Judicial Conduct Board prohibits 71-year-old Karl Barney Bloom from seeking another judicial office.

The board ruled Bloom, an assistant judge for 15 years, violated the Vermont Code of Judicial Conduct. 

No criminal charges were filed.

An assistant judge is an elected position that does not require a law license. 

They do not preside over criminal cases.

Bloom didn’t contest the charges, which he said had nothing to do with his July retirement.

 His term would have expired in February 2015.

Police records show a pattern of taking small items, such as newspapers, soup and coffee without paying.

 

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