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December 6, 2008

Prosecutorial Misconduct-Coping Strategies


Possible courses of action if you are
experiencing prosecutorial abuse or misconduct.

See excellent review at: http://caught.net/nwsltr/candef.htm

At this site you will also find if you click on the topics information on the following:

Advanced Trial Handbook Index

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Attorney and Prosecutorial Misconduct – Tricks of the Trade


For an excellent discussion of this issue see: http://caught.net/nwsltr/candef.htm

October 31, 2008

Legally Insufficient Indictment-Failure to State Specific Means by Which Alleged Crime Accomplished – Illinois / Felonious Conduct of Judge Pantle and Judge Alonso in Obstructing Justice by Denying Defense Access to Evidence


The first thing I do if I am indicted or charged is look at the charging instrument – complaint, information, or indictment. I ask does it include all the elements of the alleged crime? If not, it is legally insufficient and voids the charge and case. There are other reasons it may be insufficient and I will discuss that in later posts. The motion in this post goes over the relevant controlling case law. Please enjoy it! I hope you find it useful. This is my motion in one case where the indictment is constitutionally legally insufficient basically because it fails to state the SPECIFIC MEANS of the alleged crime – in this case the specific allegedly fraudulent invoices, naming the specific dates of service, name of patient, service billed for, provider of the service, provider who is billing, and WHAT SPECIFICALLY is fraudulent about the invoice. It also states there is a “single intention or design” (i.e. scheme) but gives NO CLUE as to what the scheme involves or who are the alleged perpetrators other than me. The US Supreme Court as well as higher courts in Illinois have ruled in similar cases that this is a void indictment and therefore the entire case is void, not just voidable.
This is a case where in 2004 I was charged with felony Medicaid fraud by the Illinois Attorney General with a fraudulent grand jury indictment by an illegally impaneled special grand jury. The trial is still pending. If you want to attend, please e-mail me and I will inform you of the date when scheduled. Contributions to my legal defense fund may also be given to my attorney – made out to: “Shelton Legal Defense Fund” C/O J. Nicolas Albukerk, 3025 W 26th St., Chicago, IL 60623. The IL AG has absolutely no legal authority to indict anyone (with the exception of about six crimes specified by statute giving AG authority) without the invitation, review, and at least minimal participation of the State’s Attorney. This never happened in mycase. The law was mistated to the grand jury, only perjured testimony was given to grand jury, extensive exculpatory evidence was withheld from grand jury. No crime is actually alleged in indictment as act is specifically authorized by the Federal Medicaid Act if one guesses that the alleged crime is billing Medicaid for services of employees who are statutorily qualified to provide services – i.e. psychologists and counselors. I will post all the other motions to dismiss that the court has illegally refused to hear later.
UPDATE: I tried to file this pro se. It is still my position that I am being illegally denied the right to self-representation – more on this later. My attorney is considering adopting this motion and filing it under his name. In the meantime, Judge Alonso refused to hear it because it did not come from my attorney, who is now representing me over my objection. I did this not because he is a bad attorney, he is very good, but I believe at this point I need to represent myself – more on this later. The judge allowed this motion to be filed as an offer of proof only.

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS

COUNTY DEPARTMENT, CRIMINAL DIVISION

 

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS       )

                        Plaintiff,                                    )          

                        v.                                             )           No. 04 CR 17571

                                                                        )

LINDA SHELTON                                         )           Jorge Alonso

            Defendant                                 )           Judge Presiding

 

 

MOTION TO DISMISS FOR INSUFFICIENT INDICTMENT OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE AN OFFER OF PROOF

 

NOW COMES Defendant, Linda Shelton, Pro Se, who respectfully moves this court to dismiss case due to insufficiency of indictment, or in the alternative offer this motion as an offer of proof that the indictment is insufficient and therefore the case is void ab initio. In support of this motion Defendant states as follows:

1.      In Illinois, an indictment must be reasonably certain enough to apprise a defendant of the charges against him, enable him to prepare a defense, and permit a conviction or acquittal to serve as a bar to any subsequent prosecution for the same offense. People v. Greico, 255 N.E.2d 897, 898-899 (Ill. 1970)

2.      A defendant has a fundamental right to be informed of the “nature and cause” of the charges against him or her. People v. Meyers, 158 Ill. 2d 46, 51 (1994).

3.      In Illinois this fundamental right is given substance by statute and incorporated into section 111-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/111–3 (West 1998)). 725 ILCS 5/111‑3 states: “111‑3. Form of charge. (a) A charge shall be in writing and allege the commission of an offense by: . . . . (3) Setting forth the nature and elements of the offense charged;” [emphasis added] See Meyers, 158 Ill. 2d at 51; People v. Davis, 281 Ill. App. 3d 984, 987 (1996). When the sufficiency of a charging instrument is challenged in a pretrial motion, the inquiry upon review is whether the instrument strictly complies with section 111–3. Davis, 281 Ill. App. 3d at 987.

4.      When the language of a statute which constitutes a charge against the defendant defines the acts prohibited, no further particularity is necessary. People v. Kamsler, 214 N.E.2d 562, 566 (Ill. 1966)

5.      An indictment is not flawed because the overt act could be described in greater detail. City of Chicago v. Powell, 735 N.E.2d 119, 125 (Ill.App.1st Dist, 2000) CITING People v. Meyers, 630 N.E.2d 811 (Ill. 1994). Rather an indictment is sufficient so long that it would enable a defendant to prepare a defense. Id.

6.      Ordinarily, the requirements of section 111-3 are met when the counts of a complaint follow the statutory language in setting out the nature and elements of an offense. Davis, 281 Ill. App. 3d at 987. The relevant inquiry is not whether a charging instrument could have described an offense with more particularity, but whether there is sufficient particularity to allow the defendant to prepare a defense. Meyers, 158 Ill. 2d at 54. A charging instrument is a preliminary pleading, and it need not contain more than a cursory statement of the facts. People v. Smith, 259 Ill. App. 3d at 497. However, it must state some facts.

7.      If the charging instrument meets the minimum requirements of section 111–3(a) but (combined with any discovery the State furnishes) is insufficient to allow the defendant to prepare a defense, he or she can–and should–seek a bill of particulars. Smith, 259 Ill. App. 3d at 498; People v. Intercoastal Realty, Inc., 148 Ill. App. 3d 964, 971 (1986).

8.      An indictment need not state the exact means used in committing a charged offense if that means is not an integral part of the offense. Grieco, 255 N.E.2d 899; SEE People v. Brogan, 816 N.E.2d 643, 654 (Ill.App.1st, 2004) (defendant’s argument that the indictment failed to apprise him of the details of how the overt act was carried out failed because the argument focused on the nature of the proof rather than the nature of the offense.) However, if the means is an integral part of the offense, the indictment needs to state these means.

9.      When the language of a statute does not articulate a specific offense, the indictment must articulate a specific overt act. People v. Potter, 125 N.E.2d 510 (Ill. 1995) In Potter, the defendant was charged with reckless driving. The indictment specifically stated that the defendant drove recklessly by speeding. The defendant was therefore not left to question whether the reckless conduct was running a red light, driving at night without his lights on, or one of a myriad of other possibly dangerous driving manners. However, there are numerous cases where the reviewing courts ruled that the indictment did not articulate a specific overt act[1], and therefore, these indictments were fatally defective.

10.  In the case at bar, the indictment states defendant is alleged to have “in furtherance of a single intention and design, … by means of false statements and representations, . . . caused false billing invoices to be submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Aid.”

11.  The indictment does NOT SPECIFY any details of this “single intention and design” so the Defendant cannot prepare a defense because she must guess at what kind of scheme and with whom she schemed in order to commit the alleged crime. As she is innocent, she has no knowledge of any scheme to which to prepare a defense.

12.  The indictment does NOT SPECIFY what false statements or what false representations she is accused of having made. She cannot prepare a defense and is forced to guess that the false statements have something to do with the large amount of different types of information on an invoice (Exhibit A), such as patient name, patient Medicaid number, date of service, type of service, diagnosis, or provider name.

13.  Defendant must also guess at which step is fraudulent in a complicated series of steps necessary to submit an invoice, from agreeing to work for the business, to signing the contract with the billing agent, to giving a patient encounter form to the business assistant when a patient is seen in clinic, to the billing agent setting up the business for electronic submission and registering the business and provider for billing, to signing a power of attorney form, electronic partner trading agreement, and alternate payee form, in order to generate an electronic invoice from the patient encounter form, to submitting the invoice over the wire, and to documenting hours worked on chart review and teaching therapist or setting medical policies.

14.  She further has to guess which dates of service for which of thousands of patient’s names in remittance advices given to her in discovery by the state, for the large time period of the indictment, June 2000 through April 2002, are involved so she can examine each of these invoices and guess at what is allegedly fraudulent about them.

15.  The above involves pulling out each of the thousands of charts in storage, examining each date of service record and comparing them with the invoices, after obtaining access to medical charts not under her control or possession until June 2008. It also involves examining all business and bank records related to billing and payroll, after obtaining access to them, as they were not under her control or possession until June 2008.

16.  As Defendant was not owner of the practice and did not have access to these documents after she left the practice in 2003, until June 2008, when she received Power of Attorney over all documents of the practice, at the request of XXXX, the owner, who is now medically incapacitated and dying of XXXXXX, Defendant is supposed to figure all this out and develop a defense using this material in only a couple of months. This is a Herculean task that no one could possibly be expected to accomplish. The Court for four (4) years has negligently and/or willfully interfered with and prevented Defendant from obtaining banking and billing records or compulsory process and prevented Defendant from legitimately seeking details of alleged offense.

17.  The State does not specify if Defendant is alleged to have ghost-billed by listing patients and Medicaid numbers of persons who never came to the practice, upcoded by listing a code for a higher degree of service than provided, substitute-billed for a provider who was not eligible to bill, schemed with the business owner, the biller, the office assistants, or whomever, for any of this. In addition, no specific acts (specific patients, specific dates of services, or specific services) are described in indictment, and no specific dates of service or specific services billed for are described in Bill of Particulars.

18.  No reasonable person can be expected to prepare a defense under the above circumstances, where the State, in the indictment has utterly failed, as required by law, to specify the overt acts which constitute the alleged criminal acts.

19.  The State, in discovery, has provided a list of approximately 54 patients which are family groups with approximately 30 adults. They claim that this discovery material represents the State informing the Defendant of the means of the illegal acts she is alleged to have committed. This, along with a Bill of Particulars, however does not cure the fatally defective and insufficient indictment. The 30 or so adults were provided in a witness list. If each psychiatric patient is seen an average of 20 visits, then these 54 patients represent about 1080 visits. Defendant, without the indictment specifying which patients and which visits are allegedly fraudulent and how they are fraudulent is left to guess about this information for each of these 1080 office visits. The State’s bill of particulars and answer to discovery states that Medicaid received bills for services for these 54 patients and lists inclusive dates of service and total amounts billed for, but does not state specific dates of service and patients for which they claim that services were billed fraudulently or what was fraudulent about the bill, except that the bills were for services “not provided by the physician,”  which could mean several different types of overt acts or omissions.

20.  Defendant is now in a situation, ordered by this Court, and produced by the State, analogous to someone being indicted and charged with murder, but not being told who she murdered, where and on what continent the murder took place, what was the nature of the alleged weapon, or even what year the murder took place. This is the ultimate injustice and sham proceeding, that should have been dismissed several years ago. This is a continuing four (4) year act of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. There is no specific Who, What, Where, or When! These proceedings are therefore, a travesty of justice and beyond any semblance of legitimate American jurisprudence. This case brings this Court, this State, and its legal system into disrepute based on the unconstitutional, illegal, and unethical actions of this Court and this State against Defendant that run counter to every due process principle guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

21.  The State has also provided in discovery thousands of the practice’s “remittance advices” that cover an approximately two year period. Remittance advices are documents generated by Illinois Medicaid sent to the medical provider which list the names of patients billed for, the recipient’s Medicaid number, the date of the service, the code for the service claimed, the invoiced amount, and the amount paid to the provider or alternate payee by Medicaid. Defendant must guess at which of these dates of services and patients may be added to the witness list and what is fraudulent about each and every one of the invoices submitted that Medicaid used to generate the remittance advices. Defendant would have to examine each invoice, if available, examine each chart for each date of service, and determine if there was a scrivener’s error, or a somehow fraudulent invoice and determine what was fraudulent about the invoice, and who was responsible for this act. Only in July 28, 2008, four (4) years after the indictment has this Court began to enforce discovery rules and order the State to clearly identify all witnesses to be used against Defendant, although the Court still has not ordered the State to identify the acts (dates of service and details of invoice that they allege are fraudulent) that constitute the alleged crime.

22.  It appears that the State is forcing the Defendant to perform their investigation and figure out what, if anything, she should be charged with concerning these thousands of patient encounters, not just by her, but by every physician and provider in the practice during the broad indictment period, four years after the indictment was handed down.

23.  Of note, a bill of particulars does not cure a faulty indictment. People v. Meyers, 158 Ill. 2d 46, 53 (1994). The indictment must stand on its own in stating facts sufficient to support all elements of the offense. The indictment, even with discovery materials, fails to inform Defendant of the alleged means of the crime or the alleged specific acts constituting this crime, four (4) years after indictment.

24.  The indictment in this case is fatally insufficient in failing to specify the acts that allegedly constitute the crime charged. Therefore, no  crime has been legally charged and the case is null and void ab initio.

25.  Under 725 ILCS 5/114-4(e), if the State, due to lack of due diligence, fails to bring Defendant to trial within one (1) year, following the indictment, after one additional hearing scheduled 14 –30 days after this motion is filed, then the case must be dismissed with prejudice for lack of due diligence.

26.  Defendant has previously moved for dismissal, 17 months after the indictment, due to lack of due diligence and this has been unconstitutionally denied. Defendant renews her request for dismissal for lack of due diligence. After four years or 48 months post-indictment, the State clearly should have provided the Defendant discovery, including all allegedly fraudulent invoices and a bill of particulars to address the above, even if this court erroneously rules that the indictment is valid.

27.  The court has placed Defendant’s subpoenas on hold for several years and denied Defendant counsel for nine (9) months in 2005-2006. The law only requires the billing agent and practice to keep invoices for three (3) years. The billing agent now claims the invoices no longer exist. The State failed to produce any invoices for the indictment period despite repeated specific orders of Judge Pantle several years ago. It claims to have microfiche of some invoices, but these cannot include most of invoices produced by Ms. Moore, as the State only make microfiche of paper claims. State has not admitted to having or denied having in their possession copies of electronic invoices from indictment period, but has failed to produce them (the actual alleged means of the alleged crime) despite orders of the Court in 2006 to do so. Ms. Moore, by law was allowed to destroy all invoices and computer records of them before 2006.

28.  In addition, banks are only required to keep records for five (5) years. Due to physical incapacity and lack of funds, Mr. XXXX, the sole proprietor of RFOM during the indictment period, has not been able to preserve all his business and bank records. Citizen’s Bank has now informed Defense attorney Albukerk that the practice’s bank records no longer exist as it is now beyond this five (5) year period. The State has failed to ask for, subpoena, or proffer the practice’s bank records in discovery while the case has been pending for four (4) years.

29.  Therefore, the Court and State have caused Defendant to be deprived of the “instruments of the alleged crime,” (the allegedly fraudulent electronic and then paper invoices) as well as exculpatory business and bank records, and therefore, materially and intentionally prevented Defendant from preparing a defense. This is not just lack of due diligence by the State. This is active interference with the defense, as well as violation of the judges’ oaths of office.

30.  The defense cannot have invoices inspected by an expert for forgery of Defendant’s signature by someone unknown person regarding paper claims, nor inspect the electronic partner trading agreement from the third-party adjudicator, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (”BC/BS”), which allows BC/BS to accept electronic claims from Medicaid providers, for forgery of Defendant’s signature.  

31.  These acts of withholding and failing to preserve evidence by the Court and the State, in themselves should cause this case to be immediately dismissed as a sanction against the State and the Court and because it now is more difficult, if not impossible to definitively prove that Defendant did not produce or cause to be produced most of the invoices in question, nor receive most of the money given the practice by Medicaid or have any part in deciding its distribution. This is the main element and the nature of the alleged crime, stated in general terms in indictment, without description of overt acts. With the physical incapacity of Co-Defendant and his written statement that he is invoking the Fifth Amendment and has refused to give a dying declaration, Defendant is put in the impossible position of proving a negative without the help of any evidence.

32.  Defendant was UNCONSTITUTIONALLY prohibited by the court from filing any pleadings pro se by a written order of Judge Pantle, dated July 6, 2005, that has not been rescinded, and DENIED at the same time an attorney from May 2005 to January 2006, a period of nine (9) months. All Defendant’s subpoenas were put on hold by the court. Defendant has repeatedly requested to present argument to the court on her many outstanding and fully briefed motions and to represent herself and fire attorneys, initially hired by her family without her consent and then hired by her when it became clear that this court was going to continue its lawlessness and deny her all due process, right to an attorney of her choice, and right to a speedy trial. ALL her reasonable requests have been unconstitutionally denied by outrageous and dishonorable conduct of this court.

33.  Denial of her Faretta rights has been baseless, and the reasons stated on the record by Judge Pantle are legally insufficient, lacking details and only conclusory; not properly documented by this court in a manner necessary to deny Faretta rights. Speedy trial has been violated as de facto removing Defendant as pro se counsel between July 6, 2005, when the court prohibited her from filing pleadings, while at the same time denying appointment of an attorney, until Defendant hired an attorney on January 19, 2006, means defense could not have agreed to any continuance during that time and therefore, all continuances during these seven (7) months must be charged to the State, and therefore case must be dismissed for speedy trial reasons.

34.  Therefore, Defendant has been unconstitutionally barred from this court from filing or presenting this motion and many other motions, many of which have been fully briefed since February 2005. Attorneys acting on her behalf, against her wishes, have not fully presented all issues stated in Defendant’s pro se pleadings to the court. She therefore, is requesting her attorneys, denied their request to withdraw by the court and forced to continue to represent Defendant, and therefore appointed by the court over her objection, to file a motion to vacate July 6th, 2005 order preventing Defendant from filing pleadings, as well as adopt this motion and enter this motion, or in the alternative let Defendant pro se argue this motion. If the court won’t allow Defendant to argue it, Defendant requests that it be entered as an Offer of Proof, so that on appeal arguments and defenses she would have presented are preserved on the record.

            WHEREFORE, Defendant respectfully requests this Court to dismiss this case with prejudice for a fatally flawed indictment, or in the alternative for lack of due diligence or speedy trial violation. If this motion is not allowed to be filed for argument, then Defendant requests it be entered as an offer of proof.

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

                                                                        _______________________

                                                                        Linda Shelton, Pro Se

 

Linda Lorincz Shelton, Ph.D., M.D.

Pro Se Defendant

 

Under penalties as provided by law pursuant to Section 1-109 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the undersigned certifies that the statements set forth in this instrument are true and correct.

                                                                        __________________________

                                                                        Linda Shelton, Pro Se

 

Dated: August 4, 2008

[1] People v. Foxall, 283 Ill. App. 3d 724 (1996): The defendant was charged by information with disorderly conduct based on transmitting a false report of sexual misconduct to the Department of Children and Family Services. Foxall, 283 Ill. App. 3d at 727. The reviewing court held that the information was insufficient because it did not specify the contents of the false report, and basic fairness required the State to identify the allegedly false statements. Foxall, 283 Ill. App. 3d at 727.

 

Davis: The reviewing court found that the indictment was insufficient when the defendant was charged with official misconduct based on “disseminat[ing] information,” but the indictment did not identify the contents of the alleged communication. Davis, 281 Ill. App. 3d at 990.

 

People v. Stoudt, 198 Ill. App. 3d 124 (1990): The reviewing court held that a complaint that charged defendant with resisting a police officer was insufficient when the complaint stated that the officer was engaged in the execution of his official duties but did not identify the authorized act the officer was performing. Stoudt, 198 Ill. App. 3d at 128.

 

People v. Leach, 279 N.E.2d 450 (Ill.App.1st, 1972): The defendant in Leach was charged with resisting or obstructing a police officer. The charging instrument was insufficient because it only stated that the defendant committed the above offense by knowingly obstructing a police officer. Id. at 453-454

 

United States v. Bobo, 344 F.3d 1076 (11th Cir, 2003): The indictment was insufficient because it failed to specify the nature of the scheme used by the defendant to defraud the State of Alabama and the United States.

 

United States v. Nance, 533 F.2d 699 (D.C. Cir., 1976): The indictment was insufficient because it failed to apprise the defendant of the nature of the false pretenses by which the defendant gained unauthorized control over money.

 

People v. Gerdes, 527 N.E.2d 1310 (Ill.App.5th, 1988): The defendant in Gerdes was charged with obstructing justice by giving false information to the police. The charging instrument did not specify the nature of the allegedly false information. The defendant was therefore left to wonder which of many statements to the police the basis for the charge against him was, so the appellate court dismissed the indictment. Id.

 

 

 

 


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