Dr. Noel Chua released from prison nearly 10 years after murder conviction in politically charged case

Dr. Noel Chua was released from the Camden County jail on Monday, nearly 10 years after he was convicted of felony murder in the overdose death of 20-year old James B. Carter III. Carter was Chua’s housemate and assistant. On Chua’s orders, he was prescribed a dangerous load of narcotics that caused his overdose and death.  In October 2007, Chua was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Chua’s release was secured by his legal team, including attorneys Stephen Reba and Jason White, who uncovered a memo in the prosecution’s files that showed Chua’s jury selection was biased against him. The memo, which was allegedly written by former County Commissioner Steve Berry and provided to prosecutors, detailed which potential jurors were likely to support former Camden County sheriff Bill Smith, who was a Chua ally. The memo also contained a line suggesting that race was a factor in the jury’s selection. It read, “I would avoid blacks on the jury. I understand you have some constitutional concerns that will have to be kept in mind, but try and avoid them.”

After Reba and White secured the memo, the court agreed to grant Chua a new trial, where he immediately pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Although Chua was sentenced to an additional 11 years in prison, the judge determined that he served his time and released him. He can no longer practice medicine in Georgia, but he will be able to reclaim his assets that were seized as part of a RICO action brought against him.

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