Skip to comments.United States v. Hofschulz
Posted on 09/18/2019 4:40:18 PM PDT by grumpygresh
Wrongful death case. Opioids and alcohol. The motion hinged on the defendant's contention that law enforcement had failed to preserve bottles of alcohol, pill bottles and pills, and cash, and had failed to properly test F.E. for the presence of alcohol before determining the cause of his death.
(Excerpt) Read more at casetext.com ...
What ever happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Never mind.
the Supreme Court said that a criminal defendant has not suffered a denial of due process as a result of the government’s failure to preserve potentially exculpatory evidence unless the defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police.”
Judge Duffin recommended this court deny the motion to suppress because there was no evidence that the government had acted in bad faith and because the exculpatory nature of the evidence was not apparent before its destruction.”
Because the cops didn’t save the drugs, the defendants say there’s no way to show that the drugs were the ones they prescribed. That’s in addition to the fact that the deceased was a known alcoholic and was reported to be heavily intoxicated the night before.
I’m more concerned with this part: “...because the exculpatory nature of the evidence was not apparent before its destruction.” Does this mean the cops decide what evidence is important? Lots of room for abuse there.
As far as guilt goes, if the docs were prescribing BOTH oxy and morphine to this guy, short of an imminent death from cancer, they’re probably guilty.
As far as cause of death is concerned, it’s not as straightforward as you believe.
1. We don’t actually know the alcohol level at the time of death becuse the ME didn’t get one. Aside from being a glaring error, we lose important information. Most ODs have multiple substances at the time of death. The drugs interact with each other, in 2major ways: metabolism and physiology. Metabolic effects can raise concentration of other drugs (binding up liver enzymes as example) and physiology can create synergistic effects (2drugs depress respiration, cardiac effects). If alcohol had a substantial additive effect, it is likely that that was the precipitating factor. I doubt that that doctor or pharmacist advised the patient to consume alcohol.
2. We also don’t know how many pills the deceased actually took. True they did a pill count, but we can’t verify that other than the report. And considering that the ME didn’t get alcohol level, you have to question her integrity here.
3. The medical issue regarding the levels of opioids is also very important. If the patient had been of a high levels of opioids for months, they would have had tolerance to the opioids. The medical records could show that the patient had been taking a consistently high dose of opioids and this can be confirmed on urine drug testing. It is not likely that the patient would have exibited signs of sedation or respiratory depression on previous office visits. Now if the dose had been raised shortly before the death, that’s another story. In fact, most OD deaths are actually independent of the opioid dose/level and depend more on multiple drugs.
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