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United States v. Evans
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
892 F.3d 692 (2018)
Dr. Richard Evans (defendant) practiced pain management. Two employees at Evans’s clinic shared concerns with federal authorities that Evans was improperly prescribing opioids. Evans was charged with federal crimes, including the illegal distribution of controlled substances. Trial testimony showed that Evans misused his prescription pad by often signing blank prescription sheets for his medical assistants to fill out later. Other testimony revealed that the pharmacy used by Evans was the top distributor of certain opioids in Texas, over half of those prescriptions were written by Evans, and a drug combination frequently prescribed by Evans was well-known to be abused. The jury convicted Evans, and Evans appealed, arguing that three convictions for distributing controlled substances should be reversed because the government (plaintiff) did not provide sufficiently particularized evidence for those three charges and because Evans introduced proof that his practice was legitimate. The three challenged charges each identified a patient whose file was introduced as evidence at trial. All three patients traveled from Louisiana, where prescription drugs were more highly regulated. The three files contained minimal medical history and no documentation of any physical examinations, the length of time each patient had taken opioids, or attempts to manage the patients’ pain that did not involve opioids.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (King, J.)
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