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Transplant surgeon acquitted 

Dr. Hootan Roozrokh was acquitted of a charge of abusing a dependent adult, in a closely watched local case where the transplant surgeon was accused of speeding up a man's death so his organs could be taken. 

A Superior Court jury on Dec. 18 found him not guilty after a two-month trial and two days of deliberations. His attorney subsequently criticized the unusual prosecution, saying it should never have been brought to court. 

The case garnered national media attention because it was believed to be the first time a transplant surgeon was charged in relation to a donor's death. 

The case against Roozrokh, from San Francisco, centered on allegations that he'd prescribed excessive amounts of painkillers to Ruben Navarro during the event in 2006 in an effort to speed his death. During the trial, his attorney said Roozrokh had been trying to ease his suffering.

Although Navarro, who was brain damaged and in a coma, was removed from life support, he did not die until eight hours later, making it impossible during that time to harvest his kidney and liver. 

Roozrokh still faces a civil trial. 

—Patrick Howe

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