Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Judge Delays Key Meningitis Criminal Trial to 2017
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Citing the recent production of some 2.2 million documents, a federal judge has granted a delay till Jan. 5, 2017 for the trial of two men charged with 25 counts of second degree murder in the aftermath of a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak.
In a two-page order issued today U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns concluded that the sheer volume of documents provided by prosecutors to defense lawyers on May 10, warranted a delay in the trial of Barry Cadden and Glen Chin. A September trial date had been set earlier.
Stearns' delay order only applies to Cadden and Chin and not the remaining defendants who still, at least for now, face a September trial date.
The two face second degree murder charges along with racketeering and mail and wire fraud charges.
The two were indicted along with a dozen other employees and owners of the New England Compounding Center following a federal probe of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak caused by fungus tainted spinal steroids.
In the same order, Stearns rejected a motion by defense lawyers that would have barred federal prosecutors from using thousands of documents gathered in the NECC probe.
"There is no basis for the contention the government has engaged in games," Stearns wrote, adding that the request to bar the use of the documents in question was "nonsensical."
The delay comes just days after Stearns rejected a motion by Cadden and Chin's lawyers to dismiss the second degree murder and related racketeering charges the two face.
Chin and Cadden, along with the other 12 defendants have all entered not guilty pleas to the charges contained in the 131 count indictment.