Thursday, November 17, 2016
Magistrate Denies Direct Access to Meningitis Files
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A federal magistrate has ruled that if a defendant facing 25 counts of second degree murder wants access to related civil court files, he'll have to get them from a co-defendant also facing second degree murder charges.
Magistrate Jennifer Boal, in a ruling issued in U.S. District Court, denied a motion by Glenn Chin to get access to files amassed in related civil cases stemming from the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.
Boal in a prior ruling had granted co-defendant Barry Cadden limited access to the meningitis outbreak files.
In announcing the denial, Boal added, " the court clarifies" that its Sept, 29, 2016 order allowing Barry Cadden permission to use the files "includes the ability to share those materials with his co-defendants in the course of preparation for trial."
The ruling comes despite the fact that prosecutors had filed a motion in support of granting Chin and the other remaining defendants access to the civil litigation files.
Noting that they had originally opposed granting Cadden access to the files, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb wrote, "Nevertheless, in light of its earlier order, this court should make the same materials Cadden possesses available to the government and the other criminal defendants as well."
The ruling comes as the trial date for Cadden and Chin is fast approaching. Their trial is scheduled for Jan. 2, 2017. The other remaining defendants are scheduled for trial on lesser charges in April.
Chin and Cadden are both charged with 25 counts of second degree murder along with racketeering and mail and wire fraud charges.
Boal's order granting Cadden access to the now confidential files, limited him to those records amassed while Cadden was still a defendant in the civil actions.