In federal criminal law, the standard is everything. The standard defines what the government must prove at trial. It is the difference between criminal conduct and conduct that is not a crime, and between innocence and guilt. In recent years, the federal prosecutors have blurred this standard and will prosecute healthcare providers for conduct that is not unlawful.
In order to obtain a trial acquittal, we spend a considerable amount of time educating the prosecution and the jury on the standard in order to raise the evidentiary requirement necessary to convict. In order to be convicted of unlawful distribution, the government must prove that a physician prescribed “for other than a legitimate purpose and outside the course of professional practice.” In essence, the Government must prove that the physician stripped off his/her lab coat and became a “drug pusher” or that the pharmacist dispensed controlled substances knowing they were for a non-medical purpose.
All too often, traditional criminal defense attorneys fail to attack the standard and indoctrinate the jury with the actual standard. This failure in strategy is the sole cause of physicians being convicted for what amounts to be a mere difference of opinion of medical judgment or a violation of prescribing regulations.
We at Chapman Law Group attack the standard through pre-trial motions designed to disqualify the government’s expert witness, attack the admissibility of state and federal guidelines, and other evidence used to prove an improper standard. In opening statement and closing argument and through cross-examinations, our healthcare defense lawyers indoctrinate the jury with the proper standard, and we show the jury why its job is not to convict physicians for mere differences of medical opinions.