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Rush to judgment linking Corey Haim death to drugs? Some think so

May 5, 2010 |  7:48 am

Poor healthWas there a rush to judgment in the case of Corey Haim, the former teen star who was found dead at age 38 in March?

Hours after his death, Los Angeles Police Department officials told reporters that Haim, who had a history of drug abuse, appeared to have died of an "accidental overdose."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef012876a7e31e970c-320wiThen, Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown publicly called Haim "the poster child" of the problem of prescription drug abuse. The attorney general said his investigators found evidence that Haim received drugs from an illegal prescription mill, and then revealed that the actor was "doctor shopping" for medications in the weeks before his death.

But a coroner's report released Tuesday found that drugs did not play a role in Haim's death. Rather, he died of respiratory distress related to pneumonia with the presence of an enlarged heart and narrowing blood vessels.

"In the cases of celebrities with a drug history there tends to be a rush to judgment before the facts are really known," said criminal defense attorney Dmitry Gorin, a former L.A. County prosecutor, "Corey Haim's death and some other recent celebrity deaths show everyone needs to take a step back before they say what only the coroner can decide."

When Johnson & Johnson heiress Casey Johnson died in L.A. earlier this year, there was speculation in the celebrity media that drugs may have been involved, in part because she suffered from drug problems in the past. But the coroner concluded she died from complications of diabetes. 

Gorin said both cases point up a need to wait until all the facts are in. "No one should be jumping to conclusions for a cause of death before the coroner decides," he said.

Brown's office did not return calls seeking comment on the Haim autopsy findings.

-- Richard Winton

Photos: (top) Corey Haim in 2008. Credit: Associated Press

(bottom) Casey Johnson. Credit: Los Angeles Times