Vindicated on Appeal – It Does Happen

July 21, 2009

John R. Fleder has written an article in the July/August 2009 edition of Update Magazine, which is published by the Food and Drug Law Institute. The article discusses a recent ruling by a federal appeals court in Chicago. That decision vacated and reversed a felony criminal conviction in a FDA-related case. The theme of the article is that although the government provides incentives for individuals and companies to plead guilty in criminal cases, the government has a heavy burden to overcome in order to convict someone and make that conviction stick on appeal. This case teaches that mistakes by federal prosecutors and others on the prosecution team can destroy a case that might otherwise seem to have prosecutorial merit. Thus, going to trial, and even appealing after a conviction can lead to a total vindication of the individual or company targeted by the government for prosecution. In this case, the appellate court had harsh words about the prosecution of the case, using general language that could be helpful to many FDA-regulated companies, whether or not they are being criminally prosecuted.