Judge denies pill mill pharmacist’s request to end house arrest

A federal judge denied a former “pill mill” pharmacist his request to reduce his sentence of 30 months of house arrest.

In August 2012, Steven Goodman was sentenced for providing more than 1 million prescription pills to the owners of “pain management” clinics in Wellington, Florida. 

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra sentenced Goodman to 30 months of house arrest in his home near St. Petersburg because, he said, the prison system could not accommodate a person of his size. Goodman weighs 551 pounds.

The twin brothers who owned the clinics, Jeffrey and Christopher George, were sentenced to 15.5 and 14 years respectively for illegally disbursing pain pills at several South Florida locations.

Goodman requested that the last seven months of his sentence be nullified, because it is nearly impossible for him to leave his home in any case due to his size. Goodman claimed that he suffers from an incurable disease of the lymph system and a heart condition, and that his doctor has given him six to 12 months to live.

Judge Marra denied the request, saying that Goodman was sentenced to house arrest not as a favor to the defendant, but in order to spare the prison system the burden of his care.

Bill introduced to toughen auto safety penalties

In the wake of the mishandled General Motors vehicle recall, legislation has been introduced that would greatly increase penalties for automakers that manufacture unsafe vehicles. The bill would provide for up to life in prison for auto-safety violations that result in fatalities.

The bill was introduced by Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. It may have little chance of passing this year, but the proposed legislation is seen as a response to car safety violations that have led to deaths. GM has been a particular target after a defective ignition switch on recalled vehicles was linked to at least 13 deaths. 

Sen. McCaskill called GM executives before a Senate committee on two occasions earlier this year to question them about the recall. GM engineers allegedly attempted to cover up the defect by changing a part without changing the part number. Investigators working for personal injury attorneys uncovered the change.

The proposed legislation, the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Enhancement Act, would raise penalties for car safety violations from $5,000 to $25,000 per violation. It would eliminate the current cap on penalties at $35 million. In addition, under the bill, federal prosecutors could seek sentences of up to life in prison for those involved with safety violations that cause death.