Government pays for prosecutions

In two cases in the last few months, federal judges have ordered the government to pay the defense costs of failed health care fraud prosecutions.

In Nevada, Judge Robert C. Jones awarded about $300,000, about 30% of the defense costs, to an Idaho doctor, finding that the losing case was frivolous because, the American Medical News reports, the government’s experts contradicted other experts in the case. (There is presumably more to the story than this, as the same is true in nearly every criminal trial involving expert testimony.) Half the claims were dismissed before trial, and the others were adjudged not guilty by a jury. The government has appealed. (Amy Lynn Sorrel, “Judge rules criminal fraud case against Idaho doctor is frivolous”, Aug. 20) (h/t P.N.).

And, in Texas, Judge Lynn Hughes awarded $391,000 to an Oklahoma attorney to cover part of his defense costs after being wrongly prosecuted on 54 counts of health insurance fraud. The court criticized prosecutors for misleading the grand jury and a “reckless disregard for the truth.” Again, the government will appeal. (AP/Tulsa World, “U.S. ordered to pay OKC attorney”, Aug. 13).

One Comment

  • Of course, the GOVERNMENT is the one party least constrained by financial concerns, meaning that shifting th cost of defense to them is least effective is terms of abuse prevention.

    But then, I guess it’s also the easiest place to start for the same reason. Hopfully, it is a start, not just an anomaly.