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Pharmacy exec resentenced to 14 years in meningitis outbreak

Pharmacy exec resentenced to 14 years in meningitis outbreak

A founder of a now-defunct Massachusetts pharmaceutical facility responsible for a deadly meningitis outbreak has been ordered to serve 14 and a half years behind barsBy ALANNA DURKIN RICHER Associated PressJuly 7, 2021, 6:18 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleBOSTON — A founder of a now-defunct Massachusetts pharmaceutical facility responsible for a deadly meningitis outbreak will spend 14 and a half years behind bars, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, lengthening his initial punishment of nine years that was tossed out by an appeals court.Barry Cadden, who was president and co-owner of the now-closed New England Compounding Center, showed little emotion as he was sentenced for a second time after being convicted of fraud and other crimes in the 2012 outbreak that killed 100 people and sickened hundreds of others.The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Cadden’s sentence last year and ordered the judge to re-examine whether certain enhancements in sentencing guidelines that call for stiffer punishments should apply.The outbreak was traced to mold-tainted steroid injections produced by the company in Framingham, located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Boston. The scandal threw a spotlight on compounding pharmacies, which differ from ordinary drugstores in that they custom mix medications and supply them directly to hospitals and doctors.Prosecutors say the facility cut corners to boost profits, neglected to properly disinfect its rooms, shipped drugs before receiving test results and ignored warning signs that its production methods were unsafe. Prosecutors had urged U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns to resentence Cadden to more than 17 years in prison.“Mr. Cadden ran an operation full of fraud and opportunism that was so risky to patients and he profited well off of it,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Strachan, chief of the health care fraud unit in Massachusetts’ federal prosecutors office. “He knew the dangers he was creating for patients in this country every time he got behind the wheel at NECC.”Strachan read aloud a letter written from the mother of a woman who continues to suffer serious health problems and is confined to bed 75% of the time as a result of receiving the mold-tainted injection. Laura Brinton’s mother implored the judge to impose a longer punishment, detailing the agony that her daughter and others have endured.“My beautiful, educated, gracious, successful daughter has asked me many times why we didn’t let her die,” Brinton’s mother wrote in the letter. “I have told her we all hoped that living would bring with it restored health. How wrong we were.”After lengthy trials in Boston’s federal court, Cadden and pharmacist Glenn Chin, who oversaw the facility’s so-called clean rooms, were both acquitted of second-degree murder under under the federal racketeering law but were found guilty of fraud, racketeering and other crimes.They were both subsequently charged with second-degree murder in Michigan state court, where the cases are still pending.Cadden’s lawyers had tried to push the blame onto Chin and argue Cadden had every reason to believe the drugs were sterile. Chin pointed the finger back at Cadden, arguing that the co-owner was the one calling the shots.Cadden tearfully apologized to the victims during his first sentencing hearing in 2017, saying “I am sorry for the whole range of suffering that resulted from my company’s drugs.”Cadden’s attorney acknowledged that the victims “have endured great suffering and great harm,” but noted that Cadden was acquitted of the most serious charges against him. Defense attorney Bruce Singal said Cadden’s original nine-year sentence was more than fair for a fraud conviction.“From a legal standpoint, I do not believe that it is appropriate that this court’s sentence reflect the deaths and serious injuries that resulted because they have no relationship to the offenses of conviction,” he said.The appeals court also ordered a new sentence for Chin, who got eight years behind bars in 2018. Chin is expected to be resentenced on Thursday.

Cases challenge no-parole terms for young adult killers

Cases challenge no-parole terms for young adult killers

BOSTON — They were convicted of the same crime: the 2011 killing of a Boston teen as part of a gang feud. But Nyasani Watt — who pulled the trigger — will be able to fight for his release on parole after 15 years because he was only 17 at the time of the killing.Sheldon Mattis, who was just eight months older, was ordered to spend the rest of his life behind bars.U.S. Supreme Court rulings and state laws in recent years have limited or banned the use of life sentences without the possibility of parole for people who commit crimes as juveniles because of the potential for change.Now, research showing that the brain continues to develop after 18 is prompting some states to examine whether to extend such protections to young adults like Mattis, who say they too deserve a second chance.“People who say that a person of 18 and six weeks is biologically different than a person of 17 and 364 days belong to the Flat Earth Society,” said Mattis’ attorney, Ruth Greenberg. “There is no support for a bright-line rule at 18, biologically, neuro-scientifically speaking. And the scientific community is in broad agreement,” she said.Mattis’ case and another, involving a man convicted of participating in a killing at 19, hope to ban life-without-parole sentences in Massachusetts for people who were 18, 19 and 20 at the time of their crimes. The two cases were recently sent up to the state’s highest court, which did away with such sentences for juveniles eight years ago.The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 struck down automatic life terms with no chance of parole for killers under 18. But this year, the more conservative court made it easier to hand down those punishments for juveniles, ruling that it doesn’t require a finding that a minor is incapable of being rehabilitated.Despite that case, more than two dozen states — including Massachusetts — and the District of Columbia have already disallowed putting juveniles behind bars for life with no chance at parole.Research indicating the brains of adolescents are still developing has convinced courts and lawmakers that punishing teens with the same severity as adults is cruel and unusual because it fails to account for the differences of youth or the potential for rehabilitation.Defense attorneys say the same rationale should apply to young adults. In the case of Jason Robinson, who was 19 when authorities say he participated in a killing in Boston, the defense points to one psychological study of people from nearly a dozen countries showing that young adults have higher risk-taking tendencies and are more influenced by their peers than older adults.Washington state’s high court earlier this year abolished automatic life without parole sentences given to people for murders committed as 18- to 20-year-olds. Courts in Washington can still sentence young adult offenders to life with no chance at parole, but only after first considering whether their youth justifies a lesser punishment.A new Washington, D.C., law allows those under the age of 25 at the time of their crime to apply for a new sentence after 15 years, said Josh Rovner, who works on juvenile justice issues for The Sentencing Project. And bills introduced in Connecticut and Illinois would get rid of life without parole sentences for people who commit crimes as young adults, Rovner said.Watt was 10 days away from turning 18 when authorities say Mattis handed him a gun and Watt fatally shot 16-year-old Jaivon Blake in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last year ordered a lower court to gather more information about brain development so it could decide whether to extend the ban on life without parole sentences to young adults.Boston’s progressive top prosecutor, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, agrees there needs to be a change — though not as drastic as defense attorneys would like. Even so, Rollins took the unusual step this year of signing a brief in the case against Robinson to push for an end to mandatory life without parole for those who committed killings between 18 and 20.She argues in court documents that the studies the defense points to are flawed, and that while it is “undisputed” that the brain continues to develop into early adulthood, “there is an absence of direct evidence linking these anatomical changes to specific behaviors.”Rollins said she will urge the Supreme Judicial Court to follow Washington State and rule that those young adults must get a special sentencing hearing to consider their youth before punishments can be handed down. She said they should be ordered to die in prison in only “extremely egregious” circumstances — if the judge finds them to be “irretrievably depraved.”“I will no longer be legally right and morally wrong,” Rollins, the first woman of color to serve as district attorney in Massachusetts, said in an interview.“We are going to move now to make sure that overwhelmingly Black and brown men aren’t disproportionately impacted by the criminal legal system,” Rollins said. “We’re going to do what’s right and at least have them have more hope and opportunity … to believe that they can change after 10, 15, 20 or so years.”It’s unclear when Massachusetts’ high court will take up the issue. But it’s likely to anger victims’ families whose loved ones won’t get a second chance, and face fierce pushback from some other prosecutors across the state.Michael O’Keefe, the top prosecutor for the Cape and Islands, said he believes the matter should be left for lawmakers — not the courts — to sort out.“We’ve taken the step of eliminating life without parole for those between 14 and 18. This has to stop somewhere,” he said. “At some point there has to be accountability for heinous criminal behavior,” he said.Rollins’ proposal could result in new sentencing hearings for dozens of young offenders across Massachusetts. More than 200 people are serving life without parole sentences in Massachusetts prisons for killings committed as 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds, according to data obtained by the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the state’s public defender agency. If the court sides with defense attorneys, those inmates could get a chance to be released someday on parole.“There’s a huge uproar that these people are going to get out, and you know, maybe some of them deserve to,” said Robinson’s attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio. “But it doesn’t mean the door is open. What it means is they now become parole-eligible and they still have to get through the seven members of the parole board and get a majority vote before they can ever get out,” she said.

Fierce Capitol attacks on police in newly released videos

Fierce Capitol attacks on police in newly released videos

Videos released under court order provide a chilling new look at the chaos at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, including body camera footage that shows a man charging at a police officer with a flagpole and tackling him to the ground.Federal judges ordered the release of the videos after media organizations, including The Associated Press, went to court to request that the Department of Justice provide access. The videos are being presented as evidence in prosecutors’ cases against three men charged with assaulting police.The new videos show a Marine Corps veteran and former New York City police officer wielding a flagpole as he attacks police, as well as rioters crushing another officer into a door as he screams in pain. Still another video shows a New Jersey man punching an officer in the head.The release comes at a time when Republican lawmakers in Washington increasingly try to downplay the siege, portraying the breach of the Capitol as a mostly peaceful protest despite the shocking violence that unfolded.Supporters of former President Donald Trump fought past police lines to storm the building and interrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s election win over Trump.The Justice Department has brought hundreds of criminal cases against the rioters. This week, a man linked to the antigovernment Three Percenters extremist movement was indicted on a new charge that he brought a semi-automatic handgun with him to the Capitol.Body camera video released in the case against former New York City policeman Thomas Webster shows the man holding a flagpole and shouting profanities at officers standing behind a metal barricade. Webster pushes the barricade and swings toward an officer with the flagpole. There’s a violent scuffle, the officer manages to take the flagpole away from the man, and Webster appears to tackle the officer to the ground.Other images in court documents show Webster pinning the officer to the ground and grabbing at his face.Webster’s lawyer wrote in court documents seeking his release from jail while he awaits trial that his client got upset when he saw police using pepper spray on the crowd. The lawyer, James Monroe, wrote that “as a former U.S. Marine and a member of law enforcement, defendant’s moral instinct was to protect the innocent.”Monroe said the officer provoked Webster by reaching across the barrier and punching him. The lawyer says Webster never actually struck the officer with the flagpole.Other footage released in the case against Patrick McCaughey III, a Connecticut man charged with assault, show police wearing helmets and face shields gathered in a Capitol doorway as the crowd pushes aggressively forward and shouts at them.At one point, Daniel Hodges of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department gets pinned against a door and a rioter rips off his mask. The mob shouts “heave ho” as it pushes forward. Hodges, whose mouth appears bloody, cries out as he’s crushed between a riot shield and the door. McCaughey at one point points to Hodges and says “he’s hurt,” seemingly trying to alert the other officers. Hodges has recovered from his injuries.An email seeking comment was sent to an attorney for McCaughey.Democrats used the video of Hodges, which had been previously obtained by some media outlets, in their impeachment case against Trump accusing him of inciting the insurrection. The House impeached him — the second of his presidency — a week after the riot for telling his supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. The Senate acquitted him weeks later.Footage released in a third case shows a man identified as Scott Fairlamb and others yelling at police as the officers walk through the crowd outside the Capitol. Fairlamb then shoves an officer and punches at his head, hitting his face shield. An email seeking comment was sent to Fairlamb’s attorney.Court documents filed this week also show another man, Guy Reffitt of Texas, has been indicted on new charges that he brought a rifle and handgun to Washington and carried the handgun onto Capitol grounds. He was arrested in January and previously pleaded not guilty to charges including obstruction of an official proceeding.Reffitt’s wife told authorities he’s a member of a Three Percenters group, according to court documents. Prosecutors say Reffitt led a group of rioters up the Capitol steps and was stopped only after officers used pepper balls, impact projectiles and pepper spray.An email seeking comment was sent to Reffitt’s attorney on Friday.More than 480 people are facing federal charges in the riot. Four have pleaded guilty so far, including a member of the Oath Keepers extremist group who has agreed to cooperate with investigators.A 49-year-old Indiana grandmother is expected next week to become the first Jan. 6 person to be sentenced. Anna Morgan Lloyd is pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge for entering the Capitol. Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of probation with community service and $500 in restitution.After the riot, Morgan Lloyd described it on Facebook as the “most exciting day of my life,” according to prosecutors. She wrote in a letter to the judge filed in court that she didn’t see any violence at the Capitol and was “shocked” when she returned to her hotel and saw the news coverage.”At first it didn’t dawn on me, but later I realized that if every person like me, who wasn’t violent, was removed from that crowd, the ones who were violent may have lost the nerve to do what they did. For that I am sorry and take responsibility,” she wrote.The powerful video footage was made public as Senate Republicans have blocked a bipartisan inquiry into the insurrection and as an increasing number of House Republicans have defended the rioters and played down the violence of the day.At a House Oversight and Reform hearing Tuesday, several Republicans questioned Democrats’ efforts to examine the attack and said they should instead be focused on issues like border security or COVID-19 restrictions.Wisconsin Rep. Glenn Grothman grilled FBI Director Christopher Wray on whether some of those who were arrested for illegally entering the Capitol were in fact innocent. Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar repeated his arguments that a Trump supporter who was shot and killed by police while breaking into the House chamber, Ashli Babbitt, was “executed.”At a hearing last month, GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia said one video feed of the rioters looked like they were on a “normal tourist visit.”Also Tuesday, 21 House Republicans voted against giving congressional medals of honor to Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police to thank them for their service that day. Dozens of those officers suffered injuries, including chemical burns, brain injuries and broken bones as the rioters overran them and broke into the building.————Associated Press reporter Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report from Washington.

Fierce Capitol attacks on police in newly released videos

Fierce Capitol attacks on police in newly released videos

Videos released under court order provide a chilling new look at the chaos at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, including body camera footage that shows a man charging at a police officer with a flagpole and tackling him to the ground.Federal judges ordered the release of the videos after media organizations, including The Associated Press, went to court to request that the Department of Justice provide access. The videos are being presented as evidence in prosecutors’ cases against three men charged with assaulting police.The new videos show a Marine Corps veteran and former New York City police officer wielding a flagpole as he attacks police, as well as rioters crushing another officer into a door as he screams in pain. Still another video shows a New Jersey man punching an officer in the head.The release comes at a time when Republican lawmakers in Washington increasingly try to downplay the siege, portraying the breach of the Capitol as a mostly peaceful protest despite the shocking violence that unfolded.Supporters of former President Donald Trump fought past police lines to storm the building and interrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s election win over Trump.The Justice Department has brought hundreds of criminal cases against the rioters. This week, a man linked to the antigovernment Three Percenters extremist movement was indicted on a new charge that he brought a semi-automatic handgun with him to the Capitol.Body camera video released in the case against former New York City policeman Thomas Webster shows the man holding a flagpole and shouting profanities at officers standing behind a metal barricade. Webster pushes the barricade and swings toward an officer with the flagpole. There’s a violent scuffle, the officer manages to take the flagpole away from the man, and Webster appears to tackle the officer to the ground.Other images in court documents show Webster pinning the officer to the ground and grabbing at his face.Webster’s lawyer wrote in court documents seeking his release from jail while he awaits trial that his client got upset when he saw police using pepper spray on the crowd. The lawyer, James Monroe, wrote that “as a former U.S. Marine and a member of law enforcement, defendant’s moral instinct was to protect the innocent.”Monroe said the officer provoked Webster by reaching across the barrier and punching him. The lawyer says Webster never actually struck the officer with the flagpole.Other footage released in the case against Patrick McCaughey III, a Connecticut man charged with assault, show police wearing helmets and face shields gathered in a Capitol doorway as the crowd pushes aggressively forward and shouts at them.At one point, Daniel Hodges of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department gets pinned against a door and a rioter rips off his mask. The mob shouts “heave ho” as it pushes forward. Hodges, whose mouth appears bloody, cries out as he’s crushed between a riot shield and the door. McCaughey at one point points to Hodges and says “he’s hurt,” seemingly trying to alert the other officers. Hodges has recovered from his injuries.An email seeking comment was sent to an attorney for McCaughey.Democrats used the video of Hodges, which had been previously obtained by some media outlets, in their impeachment case against Trump accusing him of inciting the insurrection. The House impeached him — the second of his presidency — a week after the riot for telling his supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. The Senate acquitted him weeks later.Footage released in a third case shows a man identified as Scott Fairlamb and others yelling at police as the officers walk through the crowd outside the Capitol. Fairlamb then shoves an officer and punches at his head, hitting his face shield. An email seeking comment was sent to Fairlamb’s attorney.Court documents filed this week also show another man, Guy Reffitt of Texas, has been indicted on new charges that he brought a rifle and handgun to Washington and carried the handgun onto Capitol grounds. He was arrested in January and previously pleaded not guilty to charges including obstruction of an official proceeding.Reffitt’s wife told authorities he’s a member of a Three Percenters group, according to court documents. Prosecutors say Reffitt led a group of rioters up the Capitol steps and was stopped only after officers used pepper balls, impact projectiles and pepper spray.An email seeking comment was sent to Reffitt’s attorney on Friday.More than 480 people are facing federal charges in the riot. Four have pleaded guilty so far, including a member of the Oath Keepers extremist group who has agreed to cooperate with investigators.A 49-year-old Indiana grandmother is expected next week to become the first Jan. 6 person to be sentenced. Anna Morgan Lloyd is pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge for entering the Capitol. Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of probation with community service and $500 in restitution.After the riot, Morgan Lloyd described it on Facebook as the “most exciting day of my life,” according to prosecutors. She wrote in a letter to the judge filed in court that she didn’t see any violence at the Capitol and was “shocked” when she returned to her hotel and saw the news coverage.”At first it didn’t dawn on me, but later I realized that if every person like me, who wasn’t violent, was removed from that crowd, the ones who were violent may have lost the nerve to do what they did. For that I am sorry and take responsibility,” she wrote.The powerful video footage was made public as Senate Republicans have blocked a bipartisan inquiry into the insurrection and as an increasing number of House Republicans have defended the rioters and played down the violence of the day.At a House Oversight and Reform hearing Tuesday, several Republicans questioned Democrats’ efforts to examine the attack and said they should instead be focused on issues like border security or COVID-19 restrictions.Wisconsin Rep. Glenn Grothman grilled FBI Director Christopher Wray on whether some of those who were arrested for illegally entering the Capitol were in fact innocent. Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar repeated his arguments that a Trump supporter who was shot and killed by police while breaking into the House chamber, Ashli Babbitt, was “executed.”At a hearing last month, GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia said one video feed of the rioters looked like they were on a “normal tourist visit.”Also Tuesday, 21 House Republicans voted against giving congressional medals of honor to Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police to thank them for their service that day. Dozens of those officers suffered injuries, including chemical burns, brain injuries and broken bones as the rioters overran them and broke into the building.————Associated Press reporter Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report from Washington.