Published: Nov 16, 2010 4:48 PM EST
Updated: Nov 16, 2010 1:48 PM EST

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A New York judge has dismissed an upstate prosecutor's criminal case against five operators of a Florida pharmacy targeted in a national steroid sales investigation.

The New York Times and the Times Union of Albany report Tuesday that Albany County Judge Stephen Herrick on Monday dismissed the case because the defendants have filed a civil lawsuit against District Attorney P. David Soares (sors).

Herrick says the lawsuit accusing Soares of committing federal civil rights violations created a conflict of interest in the steroid case.

A spokeswoman for Soares called the judge's ruling a

"get-out-of-jail-free card for every criminal defendant" in New York state.

In 2007, prosecutors charged Signature Pharmacy of Orlando with illegally selling millions of dollars of steroids over the Internet.