Thursday, May 15, 2014

What Does It Mean to "Surrender"?

     Local newspapers have reported that the prosecutors in my case made their move, after nearly four years of investigation, after multiple grand juries were convened and one, at last, was persuaded to issue an indictment.  So I went through the standard judicial processing of an alleged federal criminal.
     I am not a criminal, I have not committed criminal acts, and I repeat, for newcomers to this blog, that government agents have been looking for a way to "prove" that I, an upright citizen, committed federal crimes, in order to justify the time and public expense of their last four years of investigation.  The government's involvement was triggered by a whistleblower, Patricia McCullough, a Kentucky horse farm owner, who in 2008 and 2009 had avowed that she wanted to buy and take over my clinic in Hawthorne "for the good of the poor, rural people who needed medical care"-- and then refused to make monthly payments on the loan I carried for her, and proceeded to demolish the clinic (it took less than a year), along with my name, innocence and reputation.. She had her motives, not least of which must have been the prospect of a hefty whistleblower award at the end of the line, should I be convicted of something--anything! --and especially if the government decides I should pay fines.  She had nothing to lose, except her honor, which doesn't mean a lot to some people, not when pitted against a sizable monetary "award."
     This process of being indicted is as follows:  I appear at the federal courthouse;  I sign lots of documents that are put in front of me;  I submit to fingerprinting and DNA testing;  I meet with a probation officer (probation?--am I guilty already?); I stand before the judge who recites for me the conditions of my "release," and then I go home. 
     If I don't sign documents outlining the conditions of my release, I go to jail.  I have a grown son with autism, whose lifeline is closely linked to mine, therefore I would not agree to go to jail.  (Jail?  Guilty, already?)  Besides, my lawyer, Gil Schaffnit, accompanied me to the courthouse and told me I had no choice except to sign the documents.  Appearing at the courthouse, in response to federal agents' mandates, and signing documents is called "surrendering."  It does not mean I said I am guilty;  it does not mean I admit any of the charges have merit.  "Surrendering" means showing up at the courthouse.
     I write this because two days ago an old patient called me at home and said, "I heard you surrendered.  Why?"  Clearly, he did not understand the legal meaning of the word.  "Surrendering does not mean I admitted guilt," I said.  "How could I admit guilt, when I'm not guilty?"
     Then I remembered that one of the conditions of my release was that I not converse with anyone who used to be a patient or an employee.  That's about 12,000 people.
     "I'm sorry, Mr. B.," I said sadly.  "I'm not allowed to speak with you.  But if you wish to offer your point of view, please contact my lawyer, Gil Schaffnit."  Then I wished him good luck with the MRI I knew he was undergoing, for a serious problem, and said good-bye.
     Surrendering, in common parlance, is what you do when you give up, when you admit guilt, when you're ready to pay for your wrongdoing.  I haven't done that.  Surrendering, at an arraignment, is what you do when you agree to conditions that keep you out of jail.  I did that, and now I can harvest (and parboil, and freeze) the bushels of tender, heirloom string beans that are weighing down the plants in my resplendent garden. 
     At least something is flourishing around here, these days.


  1. As this is a criminal proceeding, how will the previous owner benefit? If the government grabs all your money, the whistle-blower lawsuit is dead.

  2. Patricia McCullough is the real criminal here. She is a thief; she has robbed me of the best doctor I have ever been fortunate to have. She is a killer, a psychic murderer.