LIHU‘E — Harold C. Spear III, a physician serving 12 years in federal prison for dispensing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose, was sentenced to concurrent five-year terms on state charges Thursday in 5th Circuit Court.
Court appointed defense attorney Nelson W. S. Goo asked the court to accept the terms of the plea deal and to run the sentences on the two charges concurrently, and with the 12-year-and-seven-month federal sentence that Spear is currently serving for illegally dispensing controlled drugs by phone without conducting examinations. His scheduled release date is Oct. 29, 2022.
Spear told the court that he now wanted to change his plea to no contest to two felony drug dispensing charges, even though he still questioned what he says are discrepancies with the regulations between the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the State of Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety.
“I want to spend time with my family,” Spear said. “I am 61 years old and have dedicated over half of my life to medicine. I just want to put this behind me and spend more time with my family.”
Spear appeared in a wheel chair but stood for brief periods. He is suffering from the effects of polio, according to Goo.
Hawai‘i Deputy Attorney General Gary K. Senaga also asked the court to sentence according to the plea deal. He said the charges are serious as is evidenced by the stiff federal sentence for a similar offense.
The state indicted Spear in 2009 for dispensing illegal narcotics from the Hanapepe Clinic as a licensed physician in 2005 and 2006. Some of those prescribed narcotics included oxycondone and methadone. He pleaded guilty to both state charges in 2010, but the matter was postponed until the newer federal charges were resolved in 2011.
Spear was allowed to withdraw his no contest plea to the state charges in May 2012 at the time of sentencing. The attorney general filed a new indictment reducing one of the charges to attempted dispensation of narcotics.
“The state would have prevailed at trial,” Senaga said in court.
In his sentencing statements, Spear explained his current project to introduce addictive voice recognition technique as a way to teach addicts to recognize their “middle brain” voice that encourages self-gratification or intoxication to reach a euphoric state. The therapy runs contrary to other recovery methods, he said, and the rational cognitive behavior does not consider addiction a disease but a dependency of choice.
Watanabe said that she understands that most criminal cases in court are either about drugs or are an underlying cause. She said if Spear can help just one person in prison then it would be a great accomplishment.
Spear was produced in Fifth Circuit Court from Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution in Los Angeles. The state attorney general’s office made the arrangements for an interstate agreement on detainers that will have Spear on island until the matter is resolved and then return to complete his federal sentence.
Spear would be eligible for parole after serving one year of his five-year state sentence. The state charges would also be coincide with the federal sentence, including any changes should Spear win his pending appeal.
Spear will remain in custody at the Kaua‘i Community Corrections Center until he is transported back to federal prison.