Joseph E. Oesterling, M.D., represented by Ronald W. Chapman II and Robert J. Andretz of Chapman Law Group, won an appeal today that had been filed by the Tuscola County Prosecutor and the Thumb Narcotics Unit last year.
In October 2017, Dr. Oesterling was acquitted by a jury of his peers of all criminal charges brought against him and his medical practice, Caro Medical Group, a Caro, MI based family practice. The prosecution argued at trial that Dr. Oesterling was running a “pill mill.” However, after a nearly month-long trial, a jury did not buy the prosecution’s claims.
After Dr. Oesterling was acquitted, attorneys Ronald W. Chapman II and Robert J. Andretz filed a motion demanding the government release the property and money seized during its investigation of Caro Medical Group. The government maintained it had a right to Dr. Oesterling’s seized assets even after a jury acquitted him of any wrongdoing. After a hearing, the trial court granted Dr. Oesterling’s motion and ordered the government to return Dr. Oesterling’s property.
The government appealed the trial court’s ruling maintaining that the property taken from Dr. Oesterling was derived from illegal activity. For a third time, a court disagreed with the government. Today, the Court of Appeals struck down the government’s appeal, stating that the government did not cite any evidence that the amount of money that Dr. Oesterling had in his accounts could not be legitimately explained. The court also noted in its opinion that a DEA agent even testified that it was impossible to say whether the seized property were proceeds from illegal activity.
“Dr. Oesterling is finally looking forward to moving on from the government’s continued efforts to prove a wrong where one did not exist. Property is only subject to forfeiture if there is a substantial connection between property and illegal activity. There was no connection here,” said attorney, Ronald W. Chapman II.
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