Alleged San Francisco phony doctor
pleads not guilty
February 22, 2006
By Adam Martin, Bay City News Service
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A former San Francisco doctor pleaded
not guilty today to practicing medicine without a license and
a host of other charges.
Stephen Turner, 51, who was arrested last week on 131 charges
including 106 felonies, wore orange jail clothing and stood next
to his attorney Herman Franck. Turner faces 49 counts of practicing
medicine without a license, 27 counts of mishandling blood samples
and 30 counts of offering false records for filing, according
to the district attorney's office.
Outside the courtroom Franck said his client thought that, even
though he did not have a state-issued license, he had the approval
of the federal government to provide vaccinations and tests for
immigrants applying for permanent resident status.
Franck said Turner had injected saline instead of vaccines because
he could not get the vaccines without a medical license.
"You can't just walk into a store and get that stuff,''
Franck said today.
Turner surrendered his license in 1998 after he was placed on
probation following two misdemeanor convictions of indecent exposure.
He allegedly operated two clinics in San Francisco's Mission District
from 1999 to 2005, injecting patients with fake vaccinations and
providing false results of AIDS and Syphilis tests, according
to charges filed by the San Francisco district attorney's office.
Franck said many functions that normally require state licenses
do not necessarily require a license on the federal level. He
gave, as an example, U.S. tax court, in which those arguing do
not need to be licensed attorneys. He said that even after he
had surrendered his license, Turner had been on a list of healthcare
providers federally approved to do tests and vaccines on hopeful
During the arraignment today, Franck entered the a plea of not
guilty, filed a motion to reduce bail and preliminarily announced
that some of the charges against Turner did not fall under the
jurisdiction of the district attorney's office, but rather the
U.S Department of Justice.
"I'd be happy to have the federal government join us in
the prosecution,'' said prosecutor John Dwyer in response to the
suggestion his office did not have jurisdiction to file all the
charges it had.
"I bet he would,'' replied Franck.
Prosecutor June Cravett said she didn't believe there was any
merit to Franck's claim that the district attorney's office does
not have jurisdiction over all the charges it filed. "Our
jurisdiction is clearly applicable,'' she said. Cravett said the
charges in question are those of filing false documents with U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Though he entered a not-guilty plea on Turner's behalf today,
Franck said he hoped the case would not go to trial. He said Turner
was not "public enemy no. 1,'' as his client had been portrayed
by the prosecution.
"He's not one of these people who put poison in kids candy,''
Franck said. Franck said. "At this point we want to cooperate,
make amends and do the right thing by fessing up.'' Franck pointed
out that, though Turner has two previous convictions for indecent
exposure, those convictions were expunged after he completed the
terms of his probation.
Part of Turner's probation included psychotherapy to treat a
diagnosed case of exhibitionism with predominance of narcissistic
and passive aggressive features, according to California Medical
Board records. Franck said Turner's recent alleged crimes are
a result of his psychiatric problems.
He said Turner was "having an episode as we speak.'' San
Francisco Superior Court Judge Gerald Ragen denied Franck's motion
to release Turner on his own recognizance, keeping his bail at
$1,450,000. He approved a motion to have a psychiatric test done
Turner was ordered to return to court March 16 for a pre-trial
conference. The results of his psychiatric test will be heard
on March 1.
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