Joseph "Dr. Deception" Franzetti Will Skate Again if Arizona Medical Board Chief Has Her Way

Readers of our paper may remember infamous local psychiatrist Joseph Franzetti -- who has been caught red-handed in serious lies on medical charts and official court documents -- and yet remains a doctor in good standing with the Arizona Medical Board.

We've written about Franzetti (pictured) in two cover stories, here and here, slamming him in the first story for lying in a medical record and then afterward about meeting with a mentally ill jail inmate hours before the inmate committed suicide.

Franzetti hadn't met with the inmate but claimed he had in a handwritten note placed in the inmate's medical chart shortly after the guy hung himself.

The Arizona Medical Board in June 2006 decided to impose stunningly minor punishment against Franzetti, despite board member Dr. William Martin III telling him, "I find your testimony not credible."

The second story, "Dr. Deception," described how Franzetti had secured a lucrative gig as a Rule 11 mental-health evaluator for Maricopa County (at more than $230,000 in fiscal 2009, he was by far the highest paid of the 44 mental-health professionals who contract with the county to provide legal competency evaluations).

Trouble was, Franzetti's skimpy reports were almost all exactly the same (and with the same conclusions), which strongly suggested that he was spending just a few minutes with his subjects before cranking out a brief report for the courts. 

New Times was preparing a story last year on Franzetti's financial bonanza and his fraudulent Rule 11 reports when a new issue.arose--an incident at the county jail in which Franzetti allegedly flirted (and more) with a female inmate with whom he was conducting a competency evaluation.

That videotaped incident ended with another complaint against Franzetti to the Arizona Medical Board, which investigated it last year and apparently deemed it unfounded.

Lisa S. Wynn, executive director of the state board, dismissed the complaint aginst the slippery shrink.

The full board (chaired by Dr. Douglas D. Lee) will "review" Wynn's decision tomorrow morning during a regular meeting at 9355 East Doubletree Ranch Road in Scottsdale.

Though Franzetti lost his contract with Maricopa County in the aftermath of the "Dr. Deception" story, he still is free to do his thing in the State of Arizona as he sees fit.

We fully expect that the board will rubberstamp director Wynn's decision during tomorrow's hearing.

Suffice to say, that even in the newspaper business--filled with assorted scoundrels and scofflaws, as we may be--someone with the equivalent of Joe Franzetti's sorry track record would be looking for a new line of work (maybe as an investigator for the Arizona Medical Board).