... in Alex DeLuca's War on Doctors / Pain Crisis blog. In case anyone was wondering, I disagree with the guilty verdicts. But based on what I've read so far, I can't be too harsh on the jurors this time. The following is an uncomfortable thought to have to state: It's not clear to me that a jury is a competent body for reliably evaluating the extremely complex facts at work in medical care, especially when it intersects with criminal law and the "drug war." This case, and dozens more like it, should never have been brought in a criminal venue. A prominent civil liberties attorney told me a couple of years ago he is working on a book about the unwarranted extension of federal power into civil matters where they have no business, including pain control -- I think I will check back with him to see how it is coming along. The main point is, whatever one thinks of Hurwitz's decisions in this matter, having them reviewed by juries in criminal cases brought by federal prosecutors seeking hard time is an absolutely disastrous scenario for pain patients. The under-treatment of chronic pain is a quiet but widespread tragedy afflicting our country today. Prosecutors deserve the lion's share of the blame -- that profession is desperately need of some housecleaning if any is. Click here -- an article posted in a newsletter we published in DRCNet's early days -- for some history from the first chapter of the Hurwitz saga.
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