Grassroot Perspective – July 29, 2003-Judge Nixes Government Delay of Doctors’ Trial; Do Over; Direct Democracy and the Size of Government

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”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Judge Nixes Government Delay of Doctors’ Trial

AAPS Accuses Prosecutors of Stall Tactics

Contact: Kathryn Serkes

Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, 202.333.3855, see Web site at:

TUCSON, AZ – July 3, 2003 — A federal judge has told prosecutions to
stop dragging their feet, and get on with the trial of Tucson physician,
Jeri Hassman, accused of 67 counts of wrongful prescribing of pain
medication for her patients.

In a court proceeding this week, prosecutors from the United States
Attorney’s office asked to delay the trial for almost a year. But Judge
David Bury refused, noting in his opening remarks that the trial had
already been continued from the original May 28 court date.

“The federal government was ready to indict Dr. Hassman, to shut down
her practice, to force her pain patients to find another physician, and
to drive her into bankruptcy,” said Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive
Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a
national physician organization that supports Dr. Hassman.

“But when it comes time to go in the courtroom where Dr. Hassman will
finally be found innocent, it claims that it is not ready to go to
trial, where it would have prove its case to a jury,” said Dr. Orient.
The FBI has been investigating Dr. Hassman since 1998, and executed a
search warrant in May, 2002. “Isn’t that enough time to pull a case
together if they really had one?”

Dr. Orient said that the prosecution’s case may be falling apart because
of their reliance on a suspect expert witness. “Apparently, the
government now thinks that its own expert witness used to get the
indictment and to get Dr. Hassman’s DEA registration suspended isn’t
good enough for the trial. They want more time to shop for a new one,”
she said.

Dr. Orient further points out that the witness, Dr. Bradford Hare, was a
key witness in the first trial of Dr. Robert Weitzel of Utah, who was
charged with murder and convicted of negligent homicide and manslaughter
in the deaths of five elderly patients. But Dr. Weitzel was eventually
acquitted at a second trial when it was exposed that the government had
concealed problems with the evidence of the expert witnesses.

“They can hold her hostage with these delays. They can ruin her without
ever going to court to prove a thing with demands that drive up her
legal bills, and prejudicial assertions that besmirch her reputation. If
they can’t make a case by now, maybe they should admit to making a
mistake and let a good doctor get back to treating her patients,” she

– Do Over

It might be funny if so much were not at stake. Months after the
“federalization” of airport security was supposed to solve all the
problems of air travel, airports are pining for the day of private
security forces. Turns out the Transportation Security Administration
produced a rigid, bureaucratic work force that cannot adjust to meet the
rapid changes experienced by the up-and-down airline world.

PWow. The next thing you know, the public sector union trying to
organize the government’s screeners will say that private contractors
are a bad idea who will put the nation at risk.

“It’s the wrong message in the war on terror,” Peter Winch, national
organizer for the American Federation of Government Employees, told The
Washington Post. “For TSA, just supervising a bunch of contract
operations would lead to different standards at different airports. It
would get away from one national security system.”

Nonetheless, if airports see that TSA screeners cannot get people on and
off planes in a timely, safe manner, they will look elsewhere.

Above article is quoted from The Reason Express, Reason’s Weekly
Dispatch June 3, 2003

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– Direct Democracy and the Size of Government

By Amy K. Frantz

The initiative and referendum allow voters to have a direct voice in
government, but research appears to show that, overall, these tools of
direct democracy have little or no effect on limiting the size or growth
of government. Professor Gary M. Anderson explores this concept in
“Referendum, Redistribution, and Tax Exemption: A Rent-Seeking Theory of
Direct Democracy,” a chapter from POLITICS, TAXATION, AND THE RULE OF
LAW, a new book from Public Interest Institute.

Twenty-four states allow some type of initiative or referendum process.
The initiative process permits citizens to draft their own legislation
and, if they are able to obtain enough support by gathering signatures
on a petition, to place that measure on the ballot for consideration by
the voters. With the referendum, voters consider laws that were
previously enacted by state or local governments. A referendum can be
undertaken by citizens, gathering signatures to allow consideration of a
previously-enacted law, or by the Legislative body itself, seeking voter
approval of a law it has adopted.

Initiative and referendum provide the voters a means to overcome their
elected officials’ lack of action or actions taken in the officials’ own
self-interest rather than the interests of the citizens they represent.
“In other words, the institutions of direct democracy in the form of the
initiative/referendum amount to a kind of constitutional constraint on
the behavior of governmental decision-makers.”

However, as a means to limit government spending, “direct democracy”
doesn’t seem to make much difference. Studies on this subject do not
yield any significant results. Some studies show the initiative process
results in higher expenditures; others show government expenditures are
lower when the initiative process is available to voters. “Often the
true aim of initiatives and referendums is clearly to ease and
accelerate [the] growth [of government].”

Governments impose “coercive levies” on society, sometimes to raise
revenue, other times to attempt to influence behavior (e.g., imposing
higher tobacco taxes to discourage smoking). The tax burden created by
this imposition is “allocated between the producers and consumers. This
allocation process is accessible to private interest groups who may
invest resources for the purpose of affecting the burden distribution in
their favor.”

In the states in which the initiative process is available, interest
groups that would typically lobby the government might instead turn to
the initiative process as a more secure and long-lasting means of
achieving their goals. An interest group may obtain a favorable outcome
from the Legislature, with the passage of a law that places more of the
tax burden on some other segment of the population. But the Legislature
can only provide a statutory solution; as the Legislature changes, the
interest group must continue to lobby to maintain support for the law.
However, if the interest group can use the initiative process to secure
a Constitutional Amendment, it will be more difficult in the future to
eliminate or change the benefit it provides to the interest group.

The initiative and referendum process – tools of direct democracy — are
often promoted as a means of limiting the size and scope of government.
In this chapter, the author contends that, “whatever its other impacts
or implications [the initiative and referendum process] functions as a
means by which the tax burden is rearranged to the benefit of particular
interest groups and to the detriment of others; in other words, a
coercive wealth transfer.”

Above article is quoted from Public Interest Institute at Iowa Wesleyan
College, Institute Brief June 2003,

”Evergreen (Today’s Quotes)”

“To really participate in the Divine Task, man must place his ideals as
high as possible, out of reach if necessary.” — Lecomte Du Nouy

“[The Constitution preserves]the advantage of being armed which
Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation [where]
the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” — James

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 1314 S. King Street, Suite 1163, Honolulu, HI 96814. Phone/fax is 808-591-9193, cell phone is 808-864-1776. Send him an email at:”’ ”’See the Web site at:”’