Three days ago the Federal Appeals Court with jurisdiction over Florida overturned a Doctor’s conviction in US v. Ignasiak because the government at Trial failed to produce witnesses for autopsy reports and handwritten testimony. The Doctor, known to his friends and family as ‘Dr. Bob’ in over twenty years of practice wrote hundreds of prescriptions for vicodin, oxycondin and other drugs and according to the government at trial contributed to the deaths of at least five of his patients, while causing many others to become addicted to powerful painkilling drugs.
But your Clearwater Criminal Attorney believes every American deserves a fair trial even Florida Pain Doctors who must manage chronic pain of their patients while avoiding the potential penalty of a life time in prison.
From the opinion: During Ignasiak’s trial, the government introduced the autopsy reports of five of Ignasiak’s former patients in which the cause of death was determined to be, at least in part, intoxication from controlled substances… defense counsel objected based upon the Confrontation Clause…
Astonishingly, at trial the government failed to bring in the actual doctors who wrote the autopsy reports. Recently this blog noted the trend toward greater scrutiny of the Confrontation Clause which requires the government at trial to produce the actual witnesses who conduct laboratory and forensic evidence rather than merely producing the reports generated by the witnesses. If you’re a Doctor falsely accused of medical fraud, pain mismanagement or dispensing controlled substances call a Clearwater Drug Attorney for an immediate consultation.
The purpose of a trial should always be to find the truth. The truth can be found by a jury only if the Defense is allowed to question the expert authors of reports which are based on opinions and conclusions. This decision furthers the argument that it’s unconscionable that the government was allowed to introduce expert opinions at a criminal trial without being required to subject those opinions to cross-examination. All the Courts in Florida – State and Federal, including those in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Pinellas are bound by this decision.
Synopsis of the Case (Full U.S. v. Ignasiak Opinion): The Defendant was a doctor licensed in the State of Florida who appeals his convictions for dispensing controlled substances in violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. 801 and for health care fraud. The Defendant contends that the district court at trial abused its discretion by allowing the introduction of autopsy reports and handwritten medical reports without requiring testimony by their authors.
The Federal Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit reversed defendant’s convictions because the admission of the autopsy reports and testimony about those reports, without live in-court testimony from the medical examiners who actually performed the autopsies, violated the Confrontation Clause under the facts of the case and that because the government’s case was not overwhelming the violation of the Defendant’s right to cross-examine witnesses was not harmless error in this case.
Is Justice just a game? The purpose of a Criminal Trial is to find the truth – maybe it’s hiding behind black’s King…Checkmate!
|Daumier, The Chess Players, 1863.|