May 11, 2007 — While it is still unknown how long St. Thomas physician Paul Maynard — convicted by a jury in February on four counts of illegally prescribing pain medication to patients — will remain in jail, it was clear on Friday that he will not be out on bail pending a sentencing hearing on June 1.
Sticking to clear-cut federal sentencing guidelines, District Court Judge James Giles silenced arguments made Friday by Maynard defense attorney Paul Flannery, who stated that the doctor could be released on bail if the judge finds there are "exceptional reasons" that prove Maynard's current detainment is "inappropriate."
While Giles said he does not consider Maynard to be a flight risk or a threat to the community, he also explained that no exceptions to the law should be made for individuals convicted of narcotics offenses.
"I've ruled before that persons who have been convicted of a narcotics offense for which the sentence is 10 years, or two narcotics convictions, must be detained unless the government makes a motion for release pending sentencing," Giles explained to a packed courtroom filled with Maynard's family, friends and close supporters.
Giles added that the law should be applied with "uniformity," no matter the circumstance.
"There are people who face considerable special circumstances," he said. "But a right-minded judge could not make a distinction between those persons, because to do so would not be justice," he said, adding that the jury's verdict, in this case, "ought to be" respected.
"You can go to the 3rd Circuit (Court of Appeals) to get my decisions reviewed," Giles further advised Flannery. "That would be the fastest way to get your client exonerated under the law. But the better service you could do by Dr. Maynard is to focus on the sentencing."
Giles also said that evidence gathered from the detention center's medical records does not support claims that Maynard has not been receiving treatment for Type II diabetes and hypertension, for which he was diagnosed prior to his transfer to Puerto Rico.
While Flannery argued that MDC ignored Maynard's requests for treatment during his first month at the center, Giles said that "there is no question" that Maynard had received medical attention from attending doctors.
Testifying during Friday's hearing, Dr. Kenneth Gomez, one of MDC's medical officers, said that Maynard had begun treatment for his condition on Feb. 23, and is still considered to be a chronic patient.
"He has not yet been discharged," Gomez said. "As far as I know he is still admitted to the clinic."
Defense witnesses, such as Maynard's wife, told Giles that Maynard had not suffered from diabetes prior to his detainment, fueling Flannery's theory that the stress of Maynard's criminal trial had spurred the onset of the disease.
Maynard's wife, Patricia, testified to having seen her husband coughing up blood and mucus while detained in Puerto Rico — symptoms which she said she had not seen her husband exhibit before. She also said that Maynard had lost a substantial amount of weight, some 40 to 50 pounds, which was evident as a slimmer Maynard stepped into the courtroom on Friday, wearing a baggy, light green jumpsuit.
While Gomez said that test results show that Maynard's blood-glucose levels were in an uncontrolled state when he was first evaluated in late February, he also explained that doctors have found evidence of kidney damage, which shows a protracted battle with the disease.
"It's usually three, five, sometimes 10 years before a patient develops kidney damage," Gomez said.
He added that medications prescribed while Maynard was detained on St. Thomas were refilled at the center in Puerto Rico, which accounts, in part, for an improvement in the doctor's blood sugar levels. While Gomez repeatedly said that Maynard was not denied treatment, he did admit that heavy stress could prompt an onset of Type II diabetes or the accompanying hypertension.
Gomez also did not explain why it took the center's doctors more than five days to analyze Maynard's lab results, which, according to another witness, can be read within a few minutes or hours.
According to Dr. Lawrence Rawlings, a former colleague of Maynard's, standard urinalysis or blood tests can be analyzed quickly and should not take more than one day to read.
While the arguments on both sides continued for nearly four hours, Giles ultimately determined that Maynard is not, at this point in time, dying from his condition.
Giles also denied a motion recently filed by Maynard for a new trial.
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