Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Prosecutors Pay the Piper for Professional Misconduct in Miami Trial of Pill Doctor

Calling the actions of prosecutors "profoundly disturbing," a federal judge in Miami has ordered the U.S. government to pay sanctions topping $600,000 in the case of a South Florida physician charged with illegally prescribing painkillers.

U.S. District Judge Alan Gold is forcing the government to pay Dr. Ali Shaygan more than half the costs he incurred to defend himself at trial as punishment for secretly recording his defense team.

In a harshly-worded 50-page order, Gold said the "win-at-any-cost behavior" of federal prosecutors Sean Cronin and Andrea Hoffman raised "troubling issues about the integrity of those who wield enormous power over the people they prosecute."

Here is the story from the Herald:

Here is an anecdote for you. Bob Norman of New Times blogs that Gold is a 'knucklehead' for doing this. Ironically, if he were a lawyer, the Florida Bar would use a knuckle on his head for saying that. But we disagree anyway. Sure, the money is coming out of taxpayer's pockets. That is just one of the messages you have to send to the government for abusing their office. It is only a start though.

One of the things you have to ask yourself if you have been doing this a while is how many times has this gone on, unheeded, unchecked, undiscovered? Does anyone out there think this is the first time this has happened? How many people are in jail after convictions and serving time where if misconduct had been exposed, they might not be there?

I don't think you can start a new 'Innocence Project' for Brady violations (for discovery). But we can ask supervisors to initiate a review process; ask judges to ask their law clerks to scrutinize recent similar motions in comparable cases. May turn up something today that will free someone tomorrow.

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