Williams & Connolly Secures D.C. Circuit Reversal and Dismissal of Convictions 

December 2023

On June 2, 2023, the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of firm client Ivan Robinson in a criminal appeal, finding that the government violated Brady v. Maryland at his trial by suppressing material and favorable evidence.  On November 3, 2023, rather than retry Mr. Robinson, the government dismissed the indictment with prejudice.

Robinson was a nurse practitioner specializing in back pain who practiced in Washington D.C.  As the D.C. Circuit acknowledged, “Robinson treated patients with a three-part method which he had designed. His proprietary method of treatment involved a traction table he invented, various instructions on supplements and hydration, and prescriptions for thirty milligrams of oxycodone.”  Robinson secured a patent for both his treatment method and his spinal decompression device.

The government prosecuted Robinson on the theory that his clinical practice, his decompression device, and his treatment protocol were all a “charade” to prescribe painkillers.  But, as the D.C. Circuit concluded, the government violated Brady v. Maryland and Robinson’s due process rights at trial by failing to disclose “evidence from the government’s records themselves that Robinson actually reported his patients’ illegal activity to authorities.”  The D.C. Circuit found that the government suppressed internal government reports showing that Robinson “proactively contacted” law enforcement about “pill-seeking behavior,” “audited his files to ferret out the pill-seekers,” and “had a system in place for identifying fake referrals, the presence of which likely suggested pill-seeking.”  Another report the government suppressed showed that, “upon finding [a] fake referral” presented by a pill-seeking patient, Robinson called the police and refused to treat the pill-seeker.

The D.C. Circuit held that, had the jury been provided with these reports at trial, the reports “may have raised a reasonable doubt in the mind of one or more jurors as to one or more charges that Robinson was illegally providing prescriptions to pill-seekers because he was in fact calling such behavior to the attention of authorities.”  It therefore vacated all of Robinson’s convictions and remanded the case to the district court.

On November 3, 2023, the government agreed to dismiss all charges against Robinson with prejudice.

Williams & Connolly associate Michael Mestitz represented Robinson on appeal and remand.

83 Williams & Connolly Attorneys Receive Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll Recognition

83 Williams & Connolly Attorneys Receive Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll Recognition
back to top