Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Case of Dr. Roy S. Shelburne - 7 of 10 Counts Thrown Out of Court - Part Three

Cross Posted from the FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog Main


Dr. Roy S. Shelburne of Virginia

Flap yesterday reported that the money laundering convictions of Virginia dentist, Dr. Roy S. Shelburne, involving Medicaid fraud had been set aside by a federal judge.

Now, Flap has the link to the opinion and order of federal district judge, James P. Jones.

Some key graphs:

  • The government also called four local dentists, who characterized Dr. Shelburne’s work as subpar.
  • At trial, both the government and the defendant relied on retained dental experts who had extensively reviewed Dr. Shelburne’s records, as well as personally examining and evaluating some of his patients. Both experts were well-qualified but their opinions were dramatically different. Dr. Marquetta Poynter, the government’s expert, found that Dr. Shelburne had performed unnecessary procedures; Dr. Susan Phillips, the defense expert, found Dr. Shelburne’s work to be acceptable and any incorrect billings to DMAS shown by the record to be only the normal errors produced in any dental office. Dr. Shelburne testified on his own behalf and denied any intent to defraud.
  • The defendant argues that the evidence showed that he acted in good faith in his dental practice, with no intent to defraud.5 Similarly, he contends that he acted with a “legitimate medical purpose and within the bounds of accepted medical practice.” (Mem. Supp. Mot. J. Acquittal or New Trial 11.) I agree that his evidence supported such a defense, but there was substantial evidence to the contrary. A verdict in Dr. Shelburne’s favor certainly would have been plausible and equally supportable. Under our system of justice, however, the jury’s view of the evidence cannot be set aside where, as here, there was substantial evidence to support it.
  • In summary, I find that all of Dr. Shelburne’s money laundering convictions must be set aside. I will otherwise affirm all of his remaining convictions. It thus appearing proper, it is ORDERED as follows:
  • 1. The Motion for New Trial (#284) is denied;
  • 2. The Motion for Judgment of Acquittal (#284) is granted in part and denied in part;
  • 3. Judgment of acquittal is entered as to Counts Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine of the superseding Indictment; and
  • 4. The Motion for Judgment of Acquittal is otherwise denied.

The Bristol Herald Courier quotes Tony Giorno, the U.S. assistant attorney who prosecuted the case, as saying that his team may appeal the decision. He described the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the money laundering statute as a “sea change” in the law, saying “we knew we would have problems with that…..”“We have to decide, in-house or at the Department of Justice, if we’re going to live with that interpretation in future cases.”

Dr. Shelburne is considering whether to appeal the other three remaining convictions. Shelburne’s dental license will be revoked after he is sentenced on July 10.

However, now after reading the judge’s opinion, Flap is pessimistic that there will be a plea deal to spare Dr. Shelburne jail time and the loss of his dental license. The three remaining convictions are federal felonies and the judge denied the remaining motion(s) to set aside the verdict of the jury.

Dr. Shelburne can appeal and request bail while the case is under appeal but this may only postpone the inevitable if he loses in the appellate court. His dental license will be revoked, in any case.

Stay tuned……


The Case of Dr. Roy S. Shelburne - 7 of 10 Counts Thrown Out of Court - Part Two

The Case of Dr. Roy S. Shelburne - 7 of 10 Counts Thrown Out of Court

The Case of Dentist Dr. Roy S. Shelburne - Sentencing Postponed

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