A federal judge scathingly rejected claims Friday from a former Kansas doctor who says his ex-lawyer pressured him into pleading guilty to unlawfully prescribing painkillers to a woman he never met.


     A federal judge scathingly rejected claims Friday from a former Kansas doctor who says his ex-lawyer pressured him into pleading guilty to unlawfully prescribing painkillers to a woman he never met.
     U.S. District Judge Monti Belot rebuffed a move by Lawrence Simons, of Goddard, to toss out the conviction that sent him to federal prison for two years. Simons had also challenged a restriction that prohibits him from practicing medicine during the three years of his supervised release.
     "As will be seen, defendant does not deny that he committed the acts set forth; rather he wants to weasel out of responsibility for them and their consequences by placing blame on others, including his counsel," Belot wrote.
     Simons said he planned to appeal the decision to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
     "I am extremely disappointed in the decision and some of the characterizations contained in the order," Simons said in a statement issued through his court-appointed lawyer, Jim Pratt.
     In a 33-page ruling, Belot found that Simons either lied during his plea and sentencing hearings or lied in his own submissions and testimony at an evidentiary hearing in February over the matter. Belot referenced William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," writing Simons was "hoist by his own petard," or undone by his own devices.
     "By any objective measure, defendant's testimony alone should be sufficient to justify the denial of his motion," Belot wrote.
     The court found it could not identify a specific claim of ineffective counsel by his former attorney, E. Jay Greeno. The judge noted Greeno negotiated a plea to two counts down from the original 30-plus count indictment.
     The judge also disparaged Simons' claims that he would not have pleaded guilty had he known about restrictions on his right to practice medicine and having to register as a drug offender. The judge said those claims are not credible, noting Simons had surrendered his Kansas license before entering his plea.
     Simons also was advised that the court was considering restricting his medical practice before sentencing, but he had declined the opportunity to withdraw his plea at the sentencing, Belot noted.
     The judge was also unconvinced by the defense's argument that Greeno should have objected to the restriction that prohibits Simons from practicing medicine during his probation.
     "In terms of protection to the public, the court had every reason to believe that without the restriction, defendant would engage in the same sort of unethical, unprofessional and illegal behavior. ... The court's only regret is that the restriction cannot be made permanent," Belot wrote.