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Judge lops decades off pain doctor’s sentence

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Posted at 6:50 PM, May 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-07 20:50:46-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has taken decades off the sentence of a Brigham City pain doctor convicted of illegally prescribing millions of painkillers.

In a ruling handed down late Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Dee Benson re-sentenced Dr. Dewey MacKay to 36 months in prison. With credit for the year-and-a-half he’s served, Dr. MacKay could be released in less than a year.

Dr. MacKay was facing 20 years under a federal minimum mandatory sentence. The case was sent back to Judge Benson after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled aspects of the case were mishandled.

Benson was asked to break with the federal appeals court because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling about drug cases. In his ruling, Benson also took note of Dr. MacKay’s health problems and the care he has been receiving in prison.

“MacKay appears to the Court to present no serious threat of recidivism. He has no criminal history. His medical license has been revoked which eliminates his ability to prescribe controlled substances in the future. He is 66 years old and his health is poor,” Judge Benson wrote.

Dr. MacKay was convicted of prescribing millions of pain pills — including some that resulted in a man’s death.