Brief Fact Summary. The Appellant, Tran Trong Cuong (the “Appellant”), a physician, was convicted of illegally prescribing controlled substances to thirty patients over several years. The Appellant gave the prescriptions in exchange for money, and the evidence indicated that the prescriptions were often unnecessary and administered without a thorough exam.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Federal Rules of Evidence (“F.R.E.”) Rule 703 provides that facts or data relied on by an expert may be those perceived or known by the expert. The facts or data relied on do not have to be admissible if they are of the type reasonably relied on by experts in a particular field.
To prove that a defendant distributed a controlled substance in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) , the prosecution is obliged to prove that (1) the defendant knowingly or intentionally distributed the controlled substance alleged in the indictment, and (2) at the time of such distribution the defendant knew that the substance distributed was a controlled substance under the law.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Was it error to allow Dr. MacIntosh to testify that his conclusions regarding the Appellant’s actions were “essentially the same” as those of Dr. Stevenson?
Held. Senior Circuit Judge Chapman issued the opinion for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (“Fourth Circuit”) in holding that it was error to allow Dr. MacIntosh to testify that his conclusions were essentially the same as Dr. Stevenson.
Discussion. By allowing the objectionable testimony, Dr. Stevenson’s opinion was put before the jury without him being subjected to cross examination, which denies the Appellant a fundamental constitutional right. There is no evidence that Dr. Stevenson’s medical report was of the type reasonably relied upon in a particular field under F.R.E. Rule 703.