Justice Denied

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

The Third Circuit has denied Dr. Bernard Rottschaefer’s appeal.

For background, read my column on the initial prosecution of Rottschaefer here.

The justices declined to hear oral arguments in the case and, judging by the curt opinion, it looks as if they didn’t bother to read the briefs, either. Rottschaefer’s lawyers put together a compelling appeal with new evidence that every government witness against Rottschaefer gave false or misleading testimony. The Third Circuit dismissed those claims in all of two-and-a-half pages.

Incidentally, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan’s star witness in the case against Rottschaefer, Jennifer Riggle, is currently a fugitive from justice for other crimes. The career criminal admitted in letters to her boyfriend that she lied on the stand during Rottschaefer’s trial as part of a plea for leniency on her own charges. To this day, Buchanan maintains that despite all of that, Riggle was telling the truth on the stand and Rottschaefer–a doctor with no prior record whatsoever–was lying.

Meanwhile, instead of prosecuting Riggle for her admitted perjury in Rottschaefer’s case, Buchanan has taken to more important matters, like prosecuting a woman for writing fictional (though admittedly depraved) stories on the Internet. Even a former Republican attorney general has called for her to resign, due to her baldly political prosecution in another case. Buchanan also brought the absurd bong case against Tommy Chong, and the first federal obscenity case in 20 years. She may not give a damn about justice, but she’s got a nose for the headlines.

She won’t resign, of course. It’s no secret in Pennsylvania that Buchanan’s angling for a career in politics. She certainly seems to have the moral compass for it.

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6 Responses to “Justice Denied”

  1. #1 |  Nick Gallias | 

    Rape. Pupillage. Plunder.

  2. #2 |  Gus | 


    The most disturbing aspect of the judge’s opinion is the fact they chose to characterize the case as they did. In the judge’s misguided opinion, they claim Dr. Rottschaefer overprescribed the medications, made the patients addicts, and took advantage of them sexually. All statements are false and the court should be fully aware of this fact.

    Per the court record, the prior court opinions, the patient witnesses own testimonies in civil court, the patient witnesses’ full medical records, etc. All these accusations are false.

    First, the patients confirmed after trial that they continued the treatment with the medications from other physicians that Dr. Rottschaefer allegedly overprescribed. The patients went further to note that they now received higher dosages and also confirmed that teh previous medications by Dr. Rottschaefer were medically needed.

    As for the addiction claim, all the patients recanted this testimony in civil court proceedings. One even went further to document how the US Attorney withheld evidence that proved she was not addicted. Additionally, common sense would negate this argument for why would physicians continue medications for over three years sicne Dr. Rottschaefer’s trial to these patients if the patients were allegedly addicted to them.

    Last, the judge’s utilized the sex allegations. Within the prosecution’s own briefs, they acknowledged that the sex allegations were never proven. Additionally, one of the prosecution’s own witnesses, Jennifer Riggle, documented in correspondences not only that the sex did not occurred, but also that she was instructed by the DEA Investigator in the case to falsely accuse Dr. Rottschaefer of these allegations.

  3. #3 |  Chris | 

    Dr. Rottschaefer’s case is a national travesty. No matter how people attempt to rationalize what has occurred, it is clear an innocent man and his family have been crucified through the abuse of power by US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan and the Third Circuit Court.

    When Ms. Buchanan first brought charges against Dr. Rottschaefer, she went to congress and the public with accusations that Dr. Rottschaefer traded sex for drugs. During the trial and aftermath of the trial, Dr. Rottschaefer provided evidence from Buchanan’s own witnesses that the sex allegations were fiction. Additional evidence in the form of the prosecution witnesses’ own written words documented that the entire allegations brought by Ms. Buchanan were a result of planted false testimony by Assistant US Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton and DEA Investigator Lou Colossimo. With evidence in hand, Dr. Rottschaefer sought a new trial and asked Mary Beth Buchanan to investigate the perjury committed. While the court refused to grant a new trial saying that the sex allegations were not relevant to the convictions, Ms. Buchanan refused to both investigate the allegations or revoke the plea deal with her witnesses. You see Mary Beth Buchanan released five convicted drug dealers out of state jail in exchange for their testimonies. Of course, Mary orally promised these deals for the patients’ testimonies and executed the deals in writing after trial. The patients confirmed these oral agreements in correspondences and documented meetings with other physicians prior to Dr. Rottschaefer’s trial. Of course, the court chose to overlook this evidence rather than hold Ms. Buchanan accountable for illegal actions of her staff and possibly her.

    Before people interject that there is a DOJ process for review in these situations, such mechanisms were broken due to the conflict of interests of the Bush DOJ. You see Mary Beth Buchanan served as Director of the Executive Office of the DOJ during the period that this evidence surfaced. Since the Executive Office is responsible for disciplinary proceedings on US Attorneys, it is clear that Ms. Buchanan serving as the judge of her own actions violates this review mechanism. As such, Ms. Buchanan has done no review of the clear prosecutorial misconduct and abuse of her office by her own staff in this case.

    In Rottschaefer’s second appeal, Dr. Rottschaefer provided evidence in the form of sworn statements by all five patient witnesses that they lied at his trial concerning their medical conditions. With the complete medical records within his possession, Dr. Rottschaefer’s legal team confronted the patients concerning their allegations of addiction and no medical need. The patients recanted their testimonies and stated the medications were for medical need and that the medicalications assisted with their medical ailments of chronic pain and anxiety/panic disorder. The patients even went further to note that they not only continued treatment with these medications from other physicians after seeing Dr. Rottschaefer, but also that they received stronger/higher dosages of these same medications from other physicians during the time of Dr. Rottschaefer’s trial. Of course, Mary Beth Buchanan did not prosecute these other physicians and she did not disclose this evidence to Dr. Rottschaefer’s legal team.

    Now with documented proof that the patients had medical need for the medications and that Dr. Rottschaefer was acting as a physician when prescribing these medications to the patients and not as a drug dealer, Dr. Rottschaefer sought a new trial. In response, Mary Beth Buchanan raised the sex allegations that she disavowed in her previous motions that she wrote and the court chose not to act.

    As it stands, the Third Circuit says openly that Dr. Rottschaefer prescribed a legal medication for known medical ailments that the medications were approved to treat and that the sex for drugs allegations were never proven within two separate opinions. The court still refuses to overturn the verdict and has basically opined that while the actions of a physician of prescribing these medications are legal, they find Dr. Rottschaefer guilty regardless of the rule of law.

    Some may argue that Dr. Rottschaefer is guilty of malpractice (a crime which is not a federal felony and only a civil issue). Such an argument is not sound via the current court records. After Dr. Rottschaefer’s trial, all five patients and two other prosecution witnesses sued Dr. Rottschaefer for malpractice . To date, three of the cases were dismissed by the plantiffs when they were provided notification that they would have to testify under oath and release documents for review to Dr. Rottschaefer’s legal team. Four other cases have been thrown out by the courts as lacking merit. The remaining case is currently still in discovery phase and has not gone to trial. As such, it appears that the good doctor is not guilty of malpractice.

    What also happened in the court proceedings was that the five patients confirmed under oath that Assistant US Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton instructed them to file the lawsuits. The initial question on origin of the lawsuits was raised because all these parties waited until after Dr. Rottschaefer’s trial to file these suits. When asked, some of the patients could not answer the question saying phrases like I don’t recall, while others stated affirmatively that an agent of Mary Beth Buchanan’s office, Assistant US Attorney Mark McKeen Houghton instructed them to file the suits. Coincidentally, Mary McKeen Houghton is the same US Attorney that executed the plea deal for perjury agreements and oversaw the prosecution of Dr. Rottschaefer.

    So, when the US Courts will not even align rulings to one another or the law itself, how can we as people trust in the faith of the courts?

  4. #4 |  Red Alert | 

    Justice is now just a word. So when does the doctor begin serving out his sentence? And when does the prosecutor get her reward? This whole Bush era is only a bad dream…right?

  5. #5 |  Chris | 

    Dr. Rottschaefer is currently in prison serving a five year term. At the age of 65, Dr. Rottschaefer will be over 70 when he completes his term.

    US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan has been promoted first to the Director of the Executive Office of US Attorneys and has been alleged to be apart of the Attorney Firing Scandal and now is the head of the Department for Violence Against Women. US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan also still serves as US Attorney for Western PA.

    Assistant US Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton, the prosecutor who handled the prosecution of Dr. Rottschaefer, was nominated by Mary Beth Buchanan and received a reward for excellence in the legal world by the DOJ for her work in the prosecution of Tommy Chong for selling glass pipes.

    To date, none of the prosecution witnesses have been investigated for the outright perjury they admitted to in the court of law. None of these witnesses deals have been revoked by the US Attorneys Office. In the past few months, one of the witnesses continued career caught up to her. While she was awaiting a probation violation hearing for crimes not related to Dr. Rottschaefer or her testimony, the witness fled. At the period of time Assistant US Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton continued to oversee the government’s case against this individual within the probation violation hearing and did not push that the person was either a flight risk or deserved to be punished.

    So, that’s the outcome of what has occurred in this case.

  6. #6 |  John Humphries | 

    Mary Houghton prosecuted my case. You want to know what the western district prosecutors office does regularly? Read my website. Also, for a real spicy case and showing how the government regularly tracks people illegally, look at US v. Erin House.
    That office does nothing but cover up lies!!