Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pain-Management Related Convictions Upheld

US v. McIver: McIver was a South Carolina doctor who specialized in pain management. After concerns were raised about McIver's prescription practices, the DEA began investigating. Eventually, McIver was charged with conspiracy to distribute various narcotic pain medications, distribution of those drugs, and distribution of controlled substances resulting in death (one of this patients overdosed on oxycodone). McIver was convicted by a jury of conspiracy, distribution, and distribution resulting in death and sentenced to 240 months in prison for the conspiracy and distribution counts and 360 months (concurrent) on the distribution resulting in death counts. McIver challenged his conviction on numerous grounds on appeal.

In an opinion that covers similar ground to Alerre from this time last year, the Fourth Circuit affirmed McIver's convictions. First, the court rejects McIver's argument that the district court's jury instructions, fueled by the Government's expert witness testimony about whether McIver's actions were "outside the parameters of legitimate medical practice," lowered the burden of proof for the Government to a negligence standard. Second, the court rejected the argument that the Government's expert improperly offered inadmissible legal conclusions during his testimony. Finally, the court upholds McIver's convictions as being supported by sufficient evidence.

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