Recall that last month the Judge in the U.S. v. Hernandez internet pharmacy trial declared a mistrial after numerous jurors admitted to doing their own independent research during jury deliberations. This occurred after the Judge previously dismissed defendants Steve Marhee, Edgar Cruz, Thomas Walker and Everett Echols, M.D. with prejudice after the prosecution commented in closing arguments on their decisions not to testify (a constitutional no-no).
The retrial of the remaining defendants was set to begin this month; however, the Government just filed a motion seeking to dismiss the indictment as to all remaining defendants. What was the reason you ask? According to the Motion, the reason was that the Government “became aware of facts that it did not previously possess.”
Additionally, the Government seeks to withdraw the guilty pleas of Defendants Emmanuel Antonio, Theophilos Antoniou, Eva Global, Inc., and Tropic Spiral Systems, Inc. for the same reasons. These four defendants are very lucky. The Government does not have to do that and, frankly, I can’t recall a case in which that has ever happened. The prosecutors here were very honorable, put dispositions and zealous advocacy aside and tried to do what was right as a result of these “facts that [the government] did not previously possess.”
This just further supports my amazement when people blindly plead guilty to these pre-Ryan Haight Act internet pharmacy charges. It is always a risk to go to trial, but, for the individuals that went to trial here, the risk paid off. I’m obviously never going to dissuade someone who adamantly wants to plead guilty, but, in these pre-Ryan Haight Act internet pharmacy cases where the law is, at best, unclear, it just might not be in some individuals best interests.
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Category: Internet Pharmacy Law