Last week, a former Middlesex County, Massachusetts prosecutor has been indicted after allegedly supplying his drug dealer with confidential information in exchange for prescription ocycodone pills. Stephen M. Gilpatric, 35, served as a Middlesex assistant district attorney for 7 years, until this past October when the Attorney General’s Office began investigating his conduct. Ironically, Gilpatric’s most recent work was on public corruption, white-collar crime and major narcotic cases.
Gilpatric allegedly gave his drug dealer personal information about another man – including his probation record, police report, and a photograph – in exchange for oxycodone pills. He also provided the drug dealer and the drug dealer’s brother a confidential drug ring organizational chart and a criminal record in anticipation of receiving more oxycodone pills. Oxycodone is a prescription drug prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, oftentimes after surgery. Oxycodone is an opiate, like heroin, and can be highly addictive. It is commonly known by the commercial name Oxycontin or the street name “oxycotton.”
Gilpatric is also accused of taking $1,500 from a mother who wanted her son’s commercial driver’s license reinstated after it had been revoked in a criminal case. Gilpatric was indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury on the following charges: unlawful gratuity, unlawfully communicating criminal offender record information and receiving unlawful compensation. Unlawful gratuity and receiving unlawful compensation hold a maximum prison sentence of 5 years each, and unlawfully communicating criminal offender record information holds a maximum jail sentence of one year.
Although Gilpatric is facing potential incarceration for a maximum of 11 years total, it is unlikely that he will face the maximum penalty. If Gilpatric takes a plea deal, the prosecutor on this case and the judge will consider such factors as: Gilpatric’s criminal record (likely small to nonexistent given that he is a former prosecutor), Gilpatric’s drug addiction (and willingness to receive treatment), and victim impact. The judge can also consider these factors during sentencing if Gilpatric is found guilty at trial (unless the jury determines the sentence or there is a mandatory minimum where the judge does not have any discretion, which is not the case here). Considering the fact that Gilpatric’s criminal record is likely small to non-existent and also the possibility that a jury might consider these actions a betrayal of the public’s trust, Gilpatric should probably try to work out a plea deal. However, this is a decision that only Gilpatric and an experienced criminal defense attorney can make together.
I am curious to know more about what was going through Gilpatric’s head when he was committing these alleged crimes. Was it his drug addiction that caused him to risk his career and his future? Did he think that his professional expertise on public corruption and narcotics would allow him to get away with it like the fictional law professor Annalise Keating on “How to Get Away With Murder?” It may be a little of both, but more likely the former given how addictive Oxycodone is and how its abuse has become something of an epidemic in the United States. This whole incident is very unfortunate and hopefully the former prosecutor gets the treatment he needs.
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