Dr. Jeffrey Singer's Amicus Brief with the Supreme Court

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Jeffrey Singer, M.D., in support of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the court to reverse the unjust conviction of Dr. Xiulu Ruan. Dr. Singer is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, an advisor at ACSH, and a practicing surgeon.

“The question presented, on which the circuits are deeply divided, is whether a physician alleged to have prescribed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice may be convicted without regard to whether, in good faith, he ‘reasonably believed’ or ‘subjectively intended’ that his prescriptions fall within that course of professional practice.”

Dr. Ruan is serving a 21-year sentence in federal prison, based on a small fraction of his prescriptions for pain patients. That he was acting in good faith was shown by an unsuccessful undercover sting operation against him, but that evidence and testimony by supportive patients were all withheld from the jury. In addition, the jury was misled that Dr. Ruan could have called anyone he wanted as a witness, although he was only allowed to call patients used by the prosecution.

“Juries are not trained to establish the outer limits of a highly skilled profession,” writes attorney Andrew Schlafly. “The proper task for the jury is to determine whether defendant was acting in good faith, rather than try to ascertain the boundaries of his skilled profession. It is the ultimate injustice for a compassionate and dedicated physician to be imprisoned for the rest of his active life for practicing medicine in a manner he thought best, based on his extensive training, for his patients.” 

#Reprinted with permission of AAPS. The original news release can be found here.

The entire brief can be read here.