Prescriptions given to the tragic actress/model, who died from an accidental overdose, became the focus of a criminal investigation involving lawyer Stern and two of Smith's doctors.

In 2010, Stern was convicted on two charges of conspiracy, giving false names and acting by fraud to obtain prescriptions for Smith, but the rulings were overturned in 2011.

In November (14), Stern faced the prospect of a retrial when officials at the California Supreme Court decided to send the case back to a Los Angeles criminal judge, allowing prosecutors to try and build a new case against the defendant.

However, Stern's legal nightmare came to an end on Wednesday (22Jul15), when Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry dismissed the felony conspiracy counts.

In his ruling, Perry raised concerns the lead prosecutor had pursued a conviction against Stern because he was a public figure, stating, "This case reeks of unfairness."

It is not known if the District Attorney will appeal the decision, but Stern's attorney, Steve Sadow, says, "I sincerely hope that the D.A. heeds the strong, forceful and true words of Judge Perry and allows this case to end. Only then would Howard be able to move on."

The verdict comes three months after the Los Angeles psychiatrist who befriended and treated tragic Anna Nicole avoided jail in a related case.

The same judge rejected calls from prosecutors to put Khristine Eroshevich behind bars and reduced the disgraced doctor's conviction to misdemeanour conspiracy. That ruling ended an eight-year battle to convict the psychiatrist, during which prosecutors attempted to prove she and Stern broke the law when they used fake names to acquire powerful painkillers and sedatives for the troubled actress.