Written: Kenneth Rijock
Contributed: Monte Friesner
A Medicare fraud case, pending in US District Court in South Florida, is the subject of a situation that could affect dozens of prior Federal criminal convictions. It has been learned that US Attorneys, and FBI Agents, reportedly received copies of all documents ordered by defense attorneys, which could be in violation of the Defendants' constitutional rights, and even constitute prosecutorial misconduct, as the disclosure of probable defense evidence is an unethical and improper intrusion into defense tactics. The physician who was the primary defendant is Salo Shapiro.
It appears that,whenever defense attorneys requested copies of specific documents, from evidence seized in a criminal case, copies were automatically sent to the US Attorney's Office, and to the FBI, by the court-approved copy service, Imaging Universe There is a dispute surrounding the circumstances under when and how the copies were authorized, or ordered. Federal authorities deny any role in requesting the copies. The copy service admitted that it has been following this procedure for ten years.
The Work Product Doctrine, which protects the strategies, notes, and thought processes of defense counsel, strictly prohibits adversaries from accessing, or reviewing, this material. Attorneys for defendants, in whose case the duplicate copies were found have been improperly made and delivered, asserted violations of the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment, which occurred when the copies were delivered to prosecutors, and the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel. US District Judge Marcia Cooke has not yet ruled upon pending defense motions.
The question of whether all criminal convictions, in the Southern District of Florida, or even elsewhere, are now to come under judicial scrutiny, in all prior cases where document copies were made, and delivered to the US Attorney. Will some cases now be dismissed, or will a new trial be ordered, and could such a new trial be sufficient, given the level of egregious conduct ?