Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, October 09, 2020

Gayden: Upholding Prescription Drug Convictions Over Multiple Challenges

 In United States v. Gayden, No. 18-14182 (Oct. 9, 2020) (Tallman (CA9), Martin, Rosenbaum), the Court affirmed the defendant’s convictions and sentence for unlawfully distributing prescription drugs.

First, the Court found no abuse of discretion related to the government’s pre-indictment delay because, even assuming that the defendant could show prejudice, he could not show that the government deliberately delayed to gain a tactical advantage.

Second, the Court upheld the denial of a motion to suppress.  Applying the third party doctrine, and rejecting the defendant’s reliance on the Supreme Court’s decision in Carpenter, the Court found that the defendant did not have a reasonable expectation in prescriptions he wrote for patients, and he voluntarily disclosed those records to others.

Third, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion to exclude the government’s expert witness under Daubert.  Although the defendant argued that the expert was exposed to irrelevant and inflammatory information about the defendant before forming his opinion, the defendant was able to cross examine the expert.

Fourth, the Court found no procedural or substantive error with respect to the sentence.   As for procedural error, the Court found no ex post facto violation by considering his conduct before Florida law pertaining to the standard of care was amended because his conduct was prohibited both before and after the amendment; and an obstruction enhancement was appropriate because the defendant “updated” his records after a state search warrant (but before a federal search warrant) was executed.  Lastly, the Court found that his 235-month sentence was not substantively unreasonable.