Former cancer doctor Fata's bid for 'compassionate release' from prison denied again

Convicted former oncologist Farid Fata's latest appeal pursuing a release from prison or a sentence reduction on "compassionate" grounds has been dismissed by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judges in the appellate federal court, located in Cincinnati, turned down Fata's appeal Thursday. Fata had appealed last year's denial by a judge in the Eastern District of Michigan. High-profile inmates at both federal and state prisons have been requesting releases after the coronavirus was detected in the United States and in Michigan in mid-March.

Farid Fata

In denying Fata, a three-judge panel of Martha Craig Daughtrey, David McKeague  and Amul Thapar for the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court dismissed Fata's request, ruling he had not complied with a federal deadline when he originally filed the request with the lower U.S. District Court.

The appeals panel wrote that Fata had 14 days to appeal a district court's denial on July 10 of his request for compassionate release, but his notice of appeal was filed July 30, nearly a week after it was due. The appeals court had ordered the district court to consider whether the delay "was due to excusable neglect or good cause" but the district court declined to extend the filing deadline.

"Because Fata did not file a timely notice of appeal, we DISMISS this appeal," the justices ruled.

It was just the latest attempt by Fata to get out of prison.

Last November, Fata's bid to have his conviction overturned was rejected by a federal appeals court.

In February 2020, Fata was turned down in federal court in Detroit on his request to toss out his 2015 conviction for health insurance fraud. 

Fata, who was sentenced to a 45-year prison term, sought last year to have his guilty plea to health care fraud and money laundering withdrawn, saying he was misled by his attorneys about his likely sentence. U.S. District Magistrate Judge David Grand, however, said in February that Fata pleaded guilty because "he was guilty."

Federal prosecutors say Fata gave needless chemotherapy to patients who did not have cancer in some instances as part of a scheme to defraud Medicare and health insurance companies.

Fata is serving his sentence at the federal prison in Salters, South Carolina.