Sunday, December 22, 2013

United States v. Lindstrom case brief

United States v. Lindstrom case brief summary
698 F.2d 1154 (11th Cir. 1983)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendants appealed their convictions before the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida for mail fraud under 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 1341 and 1342, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud under 18 U.S.C.S. § 371. Defendants argued that pre-indictment delay denied them due process and that the trial court erroneously restricted their rights to discovery and to cross examination of a key witness.

CASE FACTS
Defendants were convicted of mail fraud under 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 1341 and 1342, and conspiracy under 18 U.S.C.S. § 371 arising out of their operation of a therapy clinic which was allegedly used to inflate insurance claims and medical bills. Defendants appealed, arguing that pre-indictment delay denied them due process and the trial court erroneously restricted their rights to discovery and to cross examination of a key witness.

DISCUSSION

  • The court reversed, remanded, and ruled that pre-indictment delay for investigative purposes was not precluded by the U.S. Constitutional Amendment VI, but offended the due process clause of U.S. Constitutional Amendment V if the delay caused actual prejudice and was a deliberate effort to gain tactical advantage, and that no such showing was made. 
  • However, the court ruled that the trial court erred in restricting defendants' access to a key witness's medical records and in limiting cross examination relative to witness's history of mental illness. 
  • The court found that defendants' right of confrontation under the Sixth Amendment was abridged because such evidence bore directly upon the witness's credibility and truthfulness, and the jury was entitled to consider that evidence.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed and remanded defendants' convictions for mail fraud and conspiracy. The court ruled that, while defendants failed to establish that pre-indictment delay was a deliberate prosecution effort to gain advantage, defendants did show that the trial court's restriction of access to a key witness's medical records and limitation of cross examination as to witness's history of mental illness violated their right of confrontation.


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