Utah doctor in pill case must report to prison April 30
Court • Judge’s ruling stipulates a report date for Brigham City doctor Dewey C. MacKay.
Published: March 9, 2012 03:06PM
Updated: April 30, 2012 01:43PM
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Dewey C. MacKay

A federal judge on Thursday ordered a Brigham City doctor convicted of illegally distributing painkillers to report to prison by noon on April 30.

U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson issued the order for Dewey C. MacKay to self-surrender after attorneys on both sides of the case fought over surrender dates.

In a motion filed last month, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kennedy requested that Benson order MacKay to self-surrender to prison by the April 2. Kennedy’s request came after a ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, which denied a request from MacKay to stay out of prison while he appeals his case. The appeals court ruled that MacKay, 64, failed to show “exceptional reasons” that he should be allowed to stay out of prison pending his appeals.

Benson had denied a request to allow MacKay to stay out of prison while his attorneys appeal his guilty verdict and 20-year prison sentence, but he did grant a defense request to allow MacKay to remain free while appealing Benson’s ruling regarding the overall appeal.

MacKay’s attorney, Peter Stirba, then filed an appeal to the 10th Circuit Court.

MacKay initially was supposed to report to prison Feb. 1.

Stirba had asked Benson to allow MacKay to report to prison on June 22.

Benson decided on the April 30 date, which will allow the Federal Bureau of Prison time to designate MacKay’s prison facility.

MacKay was indicted in August 2010 on charges related to prescribing more than 1.9 million hydrocodone pills and nearly 1.6 million oxycodone pills between June 1, 2005, and Oct. 30, 2009. On the evening before the start of jury selection in MacKay’s trial in August, prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss a third of MacKay’s charges, saying the case could be tried more effectively without the additional charges.

At trial, prosecutors argued that Brigham City physician MacKay did not conduct physical exams or question patients to determine whether they were abusing or selling the drugs, despite cases in which a patient’s family member called to report prescription abuse.

MacKay was accused of pushing 80 to 120 patients through his office in an eight-hour workday, spending just minutes with each person. The Drug Enforcement Administration revoked MacKay’s authorization to prescribe controlled substances after completing an investigation that led to his indictment.

Among the counts MacKay was convicted of was causing the death of 55-year-old David Leslie Wirick in 2006. Wirick, a rocket scientist at Alliant Techsystems, died of a drug overdose during a three-day binge after filling prescriptions from MacKay.

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The case

Dewey C. MacKay was indicted in August 2010 on charges related to prescribing more than 1.9 million hydrocodone pills and nearly 1.6 million oxycodone pills between June 1, 2005, and Oct. 30, 2009. On the evening before the start of jury selection in MacKay’s trial in August, prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss a third of MacKay’s charges, saying the case could be tried more effectively without the additional charges.

At trial, prosecutors argued that the Brigham City physician did not conduct physical exams or question patients to determine whether they were abusing or selling the drugs, despite cases in which a patient’s family member called to report prescription abuse.

MacKay was accused of pushing 80 to 120 patients through his office in an eight-hour workday, spending just minutes with each person. The Drug Enforcement Administration revoked MacKay’s authorization to prescribe controlled substances after completing an investigation that led to his indictment.

Among the counts MacKay was convicted of was causing the death of 55-year-old David Leslie Wirick in 2006. Wirick, a rocket scientist at Alliant Techsystems, died of a drug overdose during a three-day binge after filling prescriptions from MacKay. Before MacKay’s sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson had considered dismissing the case.

Defense attorney Peter Stirba has claimed Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kennedy lied about MacKay during closing arguments on Aug. 17.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office responded to the motion by defending the truthfulness of the prosecution’s closing arguments and by saying the defense had mischaracterized a number of statements made in court.

Benson denied Stirba’s motion for dismissal, and sentencing proceeded.

In a flurry of last-minute filings, MacKay’s attorneys had asked Benson to allow MacKay to stay out of prison while his attorneys appeal his case, citing his military service, volunteerism in the community and low flight risk because of medical conditions, including diabetes. But prosecutors argued MacKay belongs in prison.

Benson did not grant that request but allowed MacKay to stay out of prison while his attorneys appealed his denial of the request.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver then denied MacKay’s request to stay out of prison during appeals.

MacKay was supposed to self-report to prison on Feb. 1