Monday, January 2, 2023

U.S. v. Jessica Joyce Spayd: Another Faulty Post-Ruan Jury Instruction.

What is particularly galling about the offense instructions given to the jury in United States v. Spayd, a case tried in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska in October 2022, is not merely that the judge equated the terms "legitimate medical purpose" and "usual course of medical practice" with "a standard of medical practice generally recognized and accepted in the country." It is that he did so in violation of clear 9th Circuit precedent. The Ninth Circuit has long held that a physician defendant cannot be convicted of unlawful distribution merely by showing that he or she intentionally violated a standard of care or intentionally committed malpractice. The case was  United States v. Feingold, 494 F.3d 1001 (9th Cir. 2006), in which the court stated that, "our holding is consistent with the law in several of our sister circuits, which have emphasized that the standard for criminal liability under ยง841(a) requires more than proof of a doctor's intentional failure to adhere to the standard of care." I will have more to say on this issue in future posts. Attached below are the full jury instructions and the separate offense instructions in Spayd.

Jessica Spayd Jury Instructions Jessica Spayd Offense Instructions  


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