Hittner is vindictive and his judgments are personal, going against the judicial oath of office. Here’s one appellate judge’s rebuke on an appeal case regarding Hittner’s sentencing ‘guidelines’;
“Because no reason or justification for the sentence imposed [by HITTNER], beyond the naked power to impose it…I dissent from the affirmance of a sentence that must be presumed to be UNCONSITUTIONAL and VINDICTIVE.” – U.S. v. Vontsteen, 950 F.2d 1086, 1095 (5th Cir. 1992).
2 fake Viagra vendors get diverging sentences
A federal judge in Houston came down tough Tuesday during sentencing for a Maryland man who confessed to selling thousands of dollars of counterfeit tablets for erectile dysfunction.
Federal prosecutors had asked for a two-and-a-half year prison term, and the federal public defender requested two years. But U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner nearly tripled the proposed totals, going above sentencing guidelines and ordering Martez Alando Gurley to more than seven years for his counterfeit scheme.
Hittner noted that two previous federal convictions in 2000 and 2005 were not enough to deter Gurley, and he did not want to reward him for cooperating with federal investigators “just because he got caught.”
Gurley, 41, had been free on bail. The judge rejected his lawyer’s request that he turn himself in and ordered he be immediately taken into custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Office.
Gurley previously pleaded guilty to selling the fake Viagra and Cialis across state lines and conspiracy to sell them. Prosecutors withdrew the remaining charges for his cooperation in helping them find the manufacturer in China and his co-defendant who bought and sold fake Viagra and Cialis pills in exchange with him.
Two hours later in the same courtroom, the same judge sentenced Gurley’s co-defendant using the standard guideline range.
Victor Lamar Coates, 47, of Philadelphia, was sentenced to four years in prison. He was allowed to remain free on bail and surrender when called to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Coates pleaded guilty to the same two charges. He had a prior criminal record but no federal convictions that the judge noted.
“Everybody’s different,” Hittner told Coates in case he’d heard about the more harsh sentencing of the man who turned him into police.
Gurley owes $410,508 in restitution to Pfizer Inc., and Eli Lilly and Company which own the trademarks for Viagra and Cialis. Coates must pay the two companies $314,565 in restitution.
Will Judge David Hittner’s Annual Passover Party of “Faith and Politics” Be Cancelled Due to COVID-19?
Despite the ethical issues, Hittner holds an annual party of politicians and lawyers in and around the State of Texas, breaching black robe canons 4/5.https://t.co/MzADkZXdLS pic.twitter.com/n8lBGG3XkM
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) April 7, 2020
“The manner in which this hearing was handled convinces us that either (i) Judge Hittner tacitly appointed Klockner’s counsel as prosecutor or (ii) Judge Hittner himself acted as prosecutor. Either constitutes reversible error.”
In re Davidson, 908 F.2d 1249 (5th Cir. 1990) pic.twitter.com/IkUgZeAkPA
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) April 7, 2020
Two Sentenced for Trafficking in Counterfeit Viagra and Cialis
HOUSTON – Two men have been sentenced to federal prison following convictions of conspiring to traffic in counterfeit Viagra and Cialis and introducing adulterated and misbranded prescription drugs into interstate commerce, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Martez Alando Gurley, 41, and Victor Lamar Coates, 47, admitted they each trafficked more than 10,000 counterfeit tablets.
Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner sentenced Gurley to 75 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $410,508 in restitution to Pfizer Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company – the licensed patent trademark holders of Viagra and Cialis. Coates received a sentence of 46 months and must pay $314,565 in restitution. Each defendant must also serve three years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms.
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with ensuring that prescription drugs distributed to U.S. consumers are safe and effective. When criminals introduce prescription drugs into the U.S. that are not FDA-approved, they jeopardize the public’s health,” said Special Agent in Charge Spencer E. Morrison of the FDA – Office of Criminal Investigations’ (OCI) Kansas City Field Office. “Our office will continue to pursue and bring to justice those whose quest for profits places the public’s health at risk through the distribution of illegitimate drugs.”
Gurley was convicted of trafficking at least 12,960 counterfeit Viagra and counterfeit Cialis tablets from his home in Napa, California, while Coates was convicted of trafficking at least 10,288 counterfeit Viagra and counterfeit Cialis tablets from his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both defendants sold the counterfeit drugs to individuals in the Houston area for further distribution to unsuspecting customers. Gurley and Coates illegally imported the counterfeit into the United States from sources in China.
Testing on samples of the counterfeit Viagra revealed the drugs contained less than the 100 mg of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) listed on the labels, while testing on the counterfeit Cialis revealed small quantities of the Viagra API and none of the Cialis API. In addition, some of the counterfeit Viagra tablets were found to contain the unrelated compound 2-MBT. The counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets looked like the authentic products and included labels and packaging that closely resembled the registered trademarks of Eli Lilly and Company, and Pfizer Inc.
In arriving at the sentences, Judge Hittner considered the fact that the illegally imported counterfeit drugs did not contain the correct medication indicated on the labelling and could cause harm to unsuspecting consumers of the pills.
Gurley was immediately taken into custody following the hearing pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future, while Coates was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender at a later date.
The FDA – OCI and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger prosecuted the case.