Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 7:45 a.m.
We didn't hold out a great deal of hope that the perennially weak Arizona Medical Board would drop the hammer on Dr. Joseph Franzett, the subject of two New Times exposes in recent years, this one and this one.
The latter story, entitled "Dr. Deception," described how the Phoenix-area psychiatrist (pictured) had collected about $250,000 from Maricopa County in fiscal 2009 alone after composing slipshod reports about the mental "competency" of adult and juvenile criminal defendants.
The piece revealed how county judges had been ignoring obvious similarities in the vast majority of Franzetti's skimpy reports, in which all the defendants seemed to have the same mental conditions.
"Dr. Deception" also told how Dr. Franzetti allegedly had been sexually inappropriate with a female jail inmate whom he was "evaluating" in a visiting room.
Another local psychiatrist, Dr. Jack Potts, subsequently filed a complaint about Franzetti with the state medical board, which trumpets itself as "protecting the public's health."
But investigators at the board didn't see the merits of Dr. Potts' complaint.
In a letter sent to Potts a few days ago, Arizona Medical Board Executive Director Lisa Wynn said that the agency has dismissed the complaint against Dr. Franzetti.
"The Board's investigative staff has thoroughly reviewed the information you provided, and does not find a violation of the state's Medical Practice Act in the Arizona Revised Statutes," Wynn wrote. "Therefore, the Board has dismissed your complaint."
Potts' one-word response to the board's ruling: "Laughable."
After publication of "Dr. Deception," presiding county juvenile Judge Norm Davis last September announced that the Superior Court would investigate the allegations against Franzetti.
"This is an extremely serious matter, and we intend to do a thorough and fair investigation of these allegations," Judge Davis said at the time.
We haven't been able to contact the judge yet on the status of that investigation, but will blog about it after we gather some more information.
We'll leave with a quote about Dr. Franzetti from another shrink, Dr. Steven Pitt, who said of Franzetti's abilities in a court deposition a few years ago, "[His] work is just woefully inadequate. His work is incomplete. It's devoid of just the basic tenets that go with conducting a psychiatric evaluation."