State Attorney Seeks Prison Term For Local Doctor
A Pensacola area doctor’s sentence for attempting to meet a juvenile for sexual purposes is drawing both fire and action from the State Attorney’s Office, which will appeal.
Dr. Brian Lee was convicted of sending graphic emails to whom he thought was a 14-year-old-boy, and then traveling to meet him for sex. The “boy” turned out to be an undercover investigator. Circuit Judge Terry Terrell sentenced the 43-year-old Lee to what amounts to house arrest for two years; 13 years’ probation, and ordered him to register as a sexual offender – but no prison time.
“In this case, the doctor was required under the guidelines to spend 45 months in prison, and the judge deviated or went below those guidelines and stated 2-3 reasons,” said State Attorney Bill Eddins. “One of the primary seasons was that some of his patients came in and said he’d been a good doctor. And we can find no basis in the law for that to be a sufficient reason to deviate below the guidelines.”
Prosecutors are limited in their appeals options. For instance, they cannot appeal a conviction or an acquittal. But one that is allowed deals with sentencing. Eddins is seeking the 45-month prison term for Lee.
The case is going to the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee, which will determine if Judge Terrell was standing on firm legal ground when imposing Lee’s punishment. A transcript of the sentencing hearing will be submitted by the state, with the defense submitting its own brief.
In such cases, that decision is made in 9-18 months. Eddins anticipates about 9 months to a year. If the State Attorney's appeal is successful, Lee will return to trial court for a new sentencing.
“The defendant has a right to appeal his trial conviction,” said Eddins. “And I would expect that he will do so, in order to evaluate whether or not the court made any mistakes in his favor or against him.”
Calls to Defense attorney Patrece Cashwell were not returned. She told the Pensacola News Journal that the judge’s sentence was “appropriate and legally sufficient.” She added that the prosecution failed to prove Lee was a “shoddy doctor” or whether this was a pattern of behavior.
For now, Dr. Brian Lee’s conviction has no bearing on his medical practice at Perdido Key Family Care. He is required to inform patients that he’s a sex offender, and other medical personnel must be in the room during treatment.