Former Florence doctor Chris Christensen was released on bond last Tuesday, June 5, after the Montana Supreme Court agreed to hear an out-of-time appeal of his conviction last February on 22 felony counts, including negligent homicide, for over prescribing opioids.
Following his conviction at a trial by jury in February, Christensen was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 suspended but released on bail pending an announced appeal to the Montana Supreme Court. When his attorney, Josh Van de Wetering, filed the appeal in the wrong court, however, Christensen was jailed on May 16 and the state argued at a bond revocation hearing that due to failure to file a timely appeal he should begin serving his sentence.
In what he called a “compromise” ruling, District Court Judge Jeffrey Langton continued the hearing until June 6 to give the Supreme Court a chance to accept or reject an out-of-time appeal. In a May 29th order, the Montana Supreme Court agreed to hear the out-of-time appeal and gave Van de Wetering 30 days to submit a brief to the court.
On June 5, Langton cancelled the continued bond revocation hearing set for the next day and released Christensen on bond pending a decision by the Montana Supreme Court on his appeal.