Capping off nearly a week of testimony David Hornick, a well-known Niskayuna physician, has been found guilty of seven misdemeanors stemming from the improper possession of prescription medications kept in the trunk of his car. The Monday, Dec. 17, verdict comes a year and a half after the doctor was initially charged with several felonies in a case that has drawn extensive local media attention.
Since his arrest in a store parking lot in the summer of 2006, Hornick has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said his car has served as a traveling medicine cabinet for his unconventional practice. Hornick does not have an office and specializes in visiting homebound patients where they live.
But after hearing Hornick give a similar account in his own defense from the witness stand, the Schenectady city jury rejected his claim after five hours of deliberation and convicted him of all charges. The verdict came despite defense attorney Joseph Gardner's characterization of the case as a persecution not a prosecution.
In the wake of the verdict, Gardner said his client expects to appeal.
"Anytime you have a jury verdict there is always the possibility of a surprise," said Assistant Schenectady County District Attorney Michele Schettino, the prosecutor in the case. "But we believed the evidence was very clear, including the defendant's own testimony, and we are pleased with the result.
"A defendant has an absolute right to appeal, but we believe very strongly that the evidence supports the verdict in this case and I'm really confident it would be upheld if there is an appeal," she said.
Hornick's case has been a tumultuous one from the start. It began with a string of phone calls from a disgruntled patient, Roseann Wilson, to the state Department of Health during which she complained about not receiving needed dosages of pain medication. The doctor subsequently met with an investigator in the parking lot of a local retail outlet and showed them that his car contained a trunk full of heavily regulated prescription medications.