South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday February 25, 2020

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September 2007 - Volume 4 - Issue 3




State Abandons Trafficking in Oxycodone Charges Against Physician

The Charges in the Information

The State of Florida charged Dr. Joseph Racine, in three-count criminal Information (State v. Joseph Racine Case No. F05009369). Count 1 alleges that on February 28, 2005, Dr. Racine Trafficked in Oxycodone by knowingly sold, delivered or was in actual or constructive possession of 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms, of oxycodone. This charge carries a 25 year minimum mandatory prison sentence if convicted. Count 2 charges that Dr. Racine, trafficked in 28 grams or more of oxycodone by writing a prescription for oxycodone to a confidential informant. Finally, Count 3 charges that Dr. Racine, unlawfully sold or delivered another controlled substance, Alprazolam, to a confidential informant.

The Motion to Dismiss the Charges

The Defense filed a lengthy Motion to dismiss all charges arguing that the charges are flawed, both factually and legally.

The charges are flawed factually because they are based on prescriptions Dr. Racine issued in February 2005 for a long-time patient, Lovie Lee Singleton, who the undisputed facts show suffers from chronic pain and mental disabilities resulting from a near-fatal automobile accident in 1994.

The charges are flawed legally because the Information Must Be Dismissed Because the Charges Are Impermissibly Based On Prescriptions Issued In Good Faith and "In the Course of" Dr. Racine’s "Medical Practice and the state has improperly sought to impose criminal liability under Chapter 893 for possible disciplinary infractions contained in § 458.331, absent the incorporation of Chapter 458 into Chapter 893 by the Florida Legislature

The Good Faith Statutory Exception

Sections 893.135(1) and 893.13(1)(a) provide that "[e]xcept as authorized by this chapter and chapter 499," sales and deliveries of controlled substances are illegal. Since physicians, such as Dr. Racine, are authorized to write prescriptions to patients for controlled substances, including oxycodone and Xanax, the Florida Legislature created a statutory exception to shield their conduct from prosecution. Thus, Fla. Stat. § 893.05(1) provides, in pertinent part, that "[a] practitioner, in good faith and in the course of his or her professional practice only, may prescribe ... a controlled substance...." (Emphasis added). The terms "good faith" and in "the course of his or her professional practice" are not defined by Section 893.05. Nor does Section 893.05 incorporate by reference the civil disciplinary standards governing physicians, which are set forth in Fla. Stat. § 458.331

Motion Hearing and Noll Prosses

The motion to dismiss was heard on July 27, 2007 subsequently the state abandoned the charges.

Joseph Racine M.D. is represented by Anthony C. Vitale, Esq., an attorney concentrating in Health Care Law. Richard Strafer Esq., an attorney concentrating in motion practice, an appellate law and Roy Kahn Esq., an accomplished criminal defense attorney. For more information, contact Peter Suarez, The Health Law Offices of Anthony C. Vitale, P.A., at (305) 358-4500.
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