The 11th Circuit is way out there on criminal cases -- it is, by far, the most conservative court in the country. It's no surprise that the Supreme Court has granted cert again to fix what the 11th has done in this doctor case, Ruan v. United States.
In that case, the doctor wanted to raise a good faith defense to his pain medication prescriptions. The district court refused to give him a subjective (or even an objective) good faith instruction. The court of appeals said that if the doctor was acting outside of appropriate medical care, that was all the government needed to prove, regardless of whether he was acting in good faith or not. Every other circuit disagrees with this approach and requires a good faith instruction (some circuits say subjective good faith and some say reasonable good faith). The Supreme Court granted cert on this question:
Whether a physician alleged to have prescribed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice may be convicted of unlawful distribution under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) without regard to whether, in good faith, he “reasonably believed” or “subjectively intended” that his prescriptions fall within that course of professional practice.
I give our 11th Circuit judges the benefit of the doubt (I'm sure they are acting in good faith!) but it's disheartening that they rule against defendants more than any other court out there. The Supreme Court will certainly reverse this case... in the meantime, how many well-intentioned doctors have gone to prison because of outlier appellate court?