Mississippi Cardiologist Won't Go to Prison for Online Dating

A couple of months ago I put up a post about federal prosecutors' pursuit of Dr. Roger Weiner, an outspoken Mississippi cardiologist who was charged with Mann Act violations for using a Memphis-based website while in Mississippi to meet and date adult women. FBI agents posting as prostitutes repeatedly tried to get Weiner to agree to for money for sex. Each time, he explcitly turned them down, at one point writing to one in a chat room, "I'm not interested in a hooker." They arrested him and charged him anyway.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. dismissed all charges against Weiner, ruling that the federal courts didn't have jurisdiction in the case. Biggers' opinion strongly suggested the case against Weiner was politically motivated, and came down hard on federal prosecutors, concluding:

The agents repeatedly played the roles of inducers in the present case. Their actions were nothing less than blatant, though unsuccessful, attempts to manufacture federal jurisdiction and are reminiscent of the behavior of the agents in one of the seminal cases on manufactured jurisdiction.

Biggers then goes on to compare Weiner's case to the facts in United States v. Archer, in which, as indicated, federal agents blatantly manufactured a federal crime.

Of course, Weiner won't be compensated for the time, money, and personal stress he spent defending himself from these phony charges. And if you think there's a chance in hell the federal agents who set Weiner up or the prosecutors who brought this bogus case against him will be sanctioned or disciplined in any significant way, well, I've got a judge in Mississippi I'd be willing to sell you.

(Hat tip: NMissCommentor.)

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  • Death Panelist||

    Did the prosecutors even try to install a trojan to download kiddie porn onto the guy's computer first? Slackers.

  • BH||

    Don't give them any ideas. I do wonder if stuff like that happens. Probably not too challenging technologically.

  • ||

    That Sun Herald article you linked is awful. Reading that, you'd get the impression that he did horrible things, but got off on a technicality (jurisdiction).

    I'm actually a little sad that I'm so surprised and happy that the judge did his job and saw the prosecution for what it was. Probably because I know there are plenty of district judges who wouldn't have done so.

  • ||

    How about disbaring the attorneys who brought the charges? If some state bar would disbar just one prosecutor for this kind of shit, things would change some.

  • ||

    I agree. We would see a big reduction in this crap if the bar would take ethics seriously.

  • ||

    "We would see a big reduction in this crap if the bar would take ethics seriously."

    You would see a big reduction in the number of lawyers if the bar associations took ethics seriously.

    --practicing lawyer.

  • Ed||

    Sadly, this isn't true. The prosecutor in the fake Duke gang-rape case was publicly humiliated and disbarred, but nothing's really changed. Disbarment and jail will have to happen repeatedly before prosecutors learn, and they won't until the media picks it up. And we know THEY won't....

  • ||

    The largest problem in the U.S. justice system is the unaccountability of state actors, cops, DAs, judges, "expert witnesses" ...

    We should start by pillorying some of them in the public square. Then we move on to suing and prosecuting them.

  • ||

    I concur.

  • Robert||

    The problem goes deeper than the US legal system. It's inherent in the existence & nature of criminal law, everywhere.

    Criminal law is asymmetric, and its rules have to be unbalanced just to get prosecutors to do their jobs at all. Unfortunately one implication is that there will always be cases at the other extreme like this.

    I doubt there's much that can be done without abolishing criminal law, and I'm not sure we're better off without it. To hold police, prosecutors, and judges accountable to the degree that would be necessary to prevent such evils, do you doubt that most of them would resort to simply covering up crimes instead of prosecuting them? The blue wall of silence would still be there, but will have moved to include all those accused of crimes. As soon as prosecutors realized they could set each other up (or be set up by others) the same way they set this doctor up, they would simply stop prosecuting. Cases would be handled as Monk's creator, Andy Breckman, would, rather than like Monk, his creation. What are you going to do, sue them?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The largest problem in the U.S. justice system is the unaccountability of state actors, cops, DAs, judges, "expert witnesses" ...


    They are not immune to bullets; that is the ultimate form of accountability.

  • ||

    As I've said elsewhere, it's long past time for us re-introduce tar and feathers as a means to rein in the excesses of public employees.

    jcr

  • ¢||

    If some state bar would disbar just one prosecutor for this kind of shit, things would change some.

    That's a devious plan to get some lawyers shot in a retaliatory SWAT raid. I'm for it.

    But prosecutorial overreach is a jobs program for defense lawyers. You think they don't know it? If they don't, the fucking lawyers guild does, and they don't shit where they eat.

  • ||

    LAME!

  • Episiarch||

    Didn't our "justice" system used to have a concept called "entrapment"?

  • ||

    I prefer to think of our system as a "legal system", not a justice system. In our system justice is an accidental result of the word games played by the legal system.

  • Ted S.||

    More like an "illegal system" at this rate....

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Yeah, I have to give credit to Judge Biggers.

  • Hugh Jorgen||

    There certainly are some unfortunate names tied to this incident.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Didn't our "justice" system used to have a concept called "entrapment"?

    Look, if the FBI didn't use all the misconduct tools at their disposal, Weiner might have tried to have consensual sex with an adult at some point.

  • creech||

    Someday this cardiologist may be diagnosed with a terminal disease. Then the dirtbags who prosecuted him can start looking over their shoulders constantly never knowing when justice may be done them.

  • ||

    Let's hope that they are already looking over their shoulders.

  • ||

    I tried to find out just what "outspoken" means in Dr. Weiner's case. It seems he's a bit new on the block in MS and his thirst for justice has seriously upset the local Old Boy Network.

    The question is how the local FBI office would be implicit in this local corruption...

    http://www.theagitator.com/200.....st-bidder/

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I nominate FRBunny for Comment of the Year

    Count me in

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I actually remembered that comment when I opened this thread.

  • Rich||

    We should start by pillorying some of them in the public square.

    Public humiliation is underrated as a punishment and deterrent. We'd probably have to ease into it with stocks.

    Think of all the jobs created: construction, monitoring, refreshments, ....

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Wait.

    Eliot Spitzer gets a pass despite laundering the money, but this chatroom lounge lizard is evil enough that he needs framing?

    Do I have that right?

    Really?

    ::sigh::

  • Paul||

    Eliot Spitzer is lecturing at the Center for Ethics at Harvard University. What's this mans claim to fame?

  • ||

    Willie said it best.
    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

  • ||

    I know this is kind of like believing in unicorns but there are a few decent attorneys out there...very few. I work for one.(a decent attorney, not a unicorn)

  • Paul||

    Of course, Weiner won't be compensated for the time, money, and personal stress he spent defending himself from these phony charges.

    As I countered in the prosecutorial immunity thread the other day, the injury occurs at time of arrest, not at time at conviction.

    Game, set and match.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Well, did they even have a reply?

  • strat||

    “I will pass . . . the talents you are promoting are ubiquitous.”

    Ooh snap!

    I think the modern practitioners of "pick up artistry" would call that "a neg," even if he said it to a hooker.

  • monolith||

    It's the type of thing that you would expect in a third world country.

    Wasn'there a campaign recently to get a pardon for Jack Johnson?

  • Mark||

    I would like to know who Weiner's former colleague was and why he turned over records to authorities that started this.

  • ||

    With the FBI on the job I sure feel safer!
    /sarc

  • ||

    This blog post provides a little clue why they were after the Doctor. It seems this doctor had caught out a corrupt medical examiner. Good for the judge for stopping this malicious attempt to manufacture federal jurisdiction by manufacturing a crime, and hiding exculpatory evidence.
    http://tiny.cc/HEFGJ

  • ||

    I do want to correct something in the previous post. Yes, the guy said he was not interested in a hooker, and that bears on the question, but look, that is a very specific definition of prostitution he was conjuring that might not agree with the legal definition: sex for money, more or less. I mean if a guy says, “I’m not a crackhead. I just smoke the stuff about 20 times a week” we would say, “you don’t think you are a crackhead, but you pretty much told us you were.” Or, “I’m not a murderer. I just shot my wife to death because I found out she was cheating on me.” Well, that guy might not call it murder, but barring some surprising defense that is precisely what he is in that hypothetical. Likewise, if a woman sleeps with a man in exchange for goods/services/money, that’s prostitution.

    Let’s face it, at best sugardaddy-ism is pretty close to prostitution and very often crosses the thin line. Now I know this is a libertarian site so I would assume that you guys aren’t very big on that issue, but the law is the law. Most people do agree that if you disagree with a law, the correct answer is either to obey it, or if appropriate engage in civil disobedience, in a MLK sort of way.

    All of which is not to defend the government’s case. the jurisdictional issue is serious and I think correctly decided. And I agree that you have to wonder what this is REALLY about. And I am not even saying that what the doctor did was definitely solicitation of prostitution. I am just saying that its not enough to exonerate you to deny that you are committing a crime: you have to actually not be doing it, either.

  • ||

    There lies madness. Are we going to have dating police, or a panel of dating judges who will rule on whether people really want to have sex or really just want the "service" of being with somebody, and are thus prostitutes? Will women be condemned as prostitutes for marrying someone whom they think will be a good father to their children? And heck, even true love could be defined as a good or service. All human relations involve enlightened self-interest of one sort or another.

    I suppose that "marriage to a randomly chosen person" might be okayed by the dating judges, but I'm not sure anything else would be.

  • ||

    They had to stretch the Mann act to the breaking pt to invoke it in the Doctor's case.
    And it is quite apparent that they had reasons unrelated to this activity to try to damage his reputation.

    There are enough cases of frank prositution to pursue that "oldest profession" and goldigger/sugar daddy amours would not seem to be any kind of priority to law enforcement. And indeed, this doctor had outed some law-enforcement corruption.
    It was revenge and nothing else.

  • ||

    If the guy was looking for sex, then he just should have joined a site that caters to that, like SexSearchdotcom.

  • gate valves||

    This blog post provides a little clue why they were after the Doctor. It seems this doctor had caught out a corrupt medical examiner. Good for the judge for stopping this malicious attempt to manufacture federal jurisdiction by manufacturing a crime, and hiding exculpatory evidence.

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