In May 1968, Anchorage dentist Robert W. Smith, 51, went on trial after he was indicted for the death of two of his patients. Prosecutors wanted to charge Smith with murder but settled for negligent homicide. This was an unusual trial. Medical practitioners rarely face criminal charges for their conduct while treating patients.
Edgar Paul Boyko led the prosecution. Boyko was the attorney general under Governor Wally Hickel. This may be the only case the flamboyant defense lawyer ever prosecuted. Stanley McCutcheon directed the defense. McCutcheon, a leader of the Democratic Party, had read law and become one of the state's best known attorneys. Judge Eben Lewis presided.
Long after the trial ended, Dr. Smith was still in court. He faced lawsuits from the families of the patients who died and malpractice suits from other patients. He also launched his own suits to force the state to allow him to resume practicing. Dr. Smith was in court off and on for 16 years.
Veteran journalist Michael Carey will take you through Dr. Smith's criminal trial and the aftermath. Carey is the former editorial page editor of the Anchorage Daily News. He is now a columnist - and the host of "Alaska Edition" for Alaska Public Broadcasting. Carey has lectured on Alaska legal history for 10 years.