Team Assignment: Criminal Law and Procedure
Law and Society
1. Kevorkian Pharmaceutical Institute has developed a cancer treatment that is extremely promising and profitable. The treatment involves “salting” cancerous tumors with tiny metallic particles, and then exposing them to high intensity radio waves that cause the metallic pellets to heat up and destroy the tumor without harming the healthy tissue. Although studies have been positive (95% of all cases), researchers have also noted an extremely adverse, and potentially lethal, side effect in 5% of patients tested, and they do not know why.
2. Nevertheless, the Institute has decided to market the cancer treatment. In order to prevent the public and the government from learning of the adverse side effects, the directors of the hospital placed the original documents in a warehouse, falsified the research findings (making all results appear successful), and submitted the altered documents to some very prominent medical journals that published the information.
3. Also, the directors of the hospital then instructed the project managers involved in the studies to keep silent. Each manager was given $1,000.00 in cash for his or her silence.
4. Dr. Gregory House, a project manager and doctor, ignores the director’s threats and refuses the $1,000 bribe. After taking the original documents from the warehouse in which the directors of the hospital stored them, Dr. House releases the information to the press.
5. In response to Dr. House’s revelation, Dr. McCoy, a company director, panics. He obtains gasoline and uses it to start a fire, destroying the remaining contents of the warehouse. In the process, he unintentionally kills an employee who has fallen asleep in the warehouse.
6. In an attempt to impede Dr. McCoy from escaping, Mr. Sulu, an innocent passerby, tries to stop the doctor. Dr. McCoy lashes out and intentionally hits Mr. Sulu in the jaw with his fist. The blow renders Mr. Sulu unconscious.
7. While all of this is happening, the Feds learned about the document alterations that the directors made and obtained a search warrant. In reviewing the Institute’s documentation that they obtained with the search warrant, they discover that Dr. Spock, a project manager, has been siphoning some project money for his own personal benefit.
These are the criminal charges that could be brought against each individual in this case:
1. The Directors:
a. Issue: Did the offering of a $1,000.00 cash payment to each project managers in exchange for their silence regarding the treatment’s negative results constitute a charge of Bribery of Public Officials (an officer of a corporation or business)?
Rule: Bribery of Public Officials is criminally defined as influencing any public official to do something that serves your own interest (Miller & Jentz, 2010, p. 179).
Analysis: In order to influence the project managers to remain silent, the hospital directors intentionally offered money (something of value) in exchange for hiding the true results of the research. Conceiving the idea to pay off the project managers was the requisite mens rea, and paying each of the project managers $1000 in cash for their silences was the requisite actus reus.
Conclusion: According to the facts and analysis, the directors did commit Bribery of Public Officials, and the two essential elements for criminal liability, mens rea (intent) and actus reus (guilty act), have been met.
b. Issue: Did the directors commit forgery when they copied and altered the records of the experiments to show that all of the experiments had been successful?
Rule: Forgery is the fraudulent act of making or altering any writing, such as falsifying public records or altering a legal document, in a way that changes the legal rights...
References: Farlex, Inc. (2010). Involuntary Manslaughter Retrieved September 28, 2010, from The Free Dictionary: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/involuntary+manslaughter
Farlex, Inc. (2010). Mail Fraud. Retrieved October 6, 2010, from The Free Dictionary: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Mail+Fraud
Miller, R. and Jentz, G. (2010). Business Law Today, Comprehensive Edition. (8 th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
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