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Doctor Convicted of Illegally Prescribing Drugs Gets Seven Months in Prison

June 1, 2007 — Sending the message that members of the local medical community are "not above the law," federal District Court Judge James Giles handed down a seven-month prison sentence for Dr. Paul Maynard on Friday, convicted earlier this year on four counts of illegally prescribing pain medication to patients.
Maynard's sentence also includes three years of supervised probation after his incarceration, a $5,000 fine, a $400 assessment fee and 50 hours of community service. Maynard's medical practice, located on St. Thomas, will also be turned over to the federal government.
Maynard was initially indicted in 2003 by a federal grand jury on 170 counts of prescribing pain medication to patients without "a legitimate medical purpose." But when Maynard's trial wrapped on island in mid February, a 12-member panel of local residents only turned out convictions on four of those counts. Those were based on prescriptions written to a series of undercover federal agents, who launched a 20-month investigation into Maynard's practice prior to his indictment. (See "St. Thomas Doctor Found Guilty of Illegally Prescribing Drugs.")
On Friday, Giles explained that Maynard's sentence was consistent with the jury's findings and the quality of Maynard's "state of mind" during the trial.
"Intent can be inferred from a knowing disregard of one's duty," Giles said during Friday's hearing. "It can be inferred from sticking one's head in the sand. And that's the level at which I gauge Dr. Maynard's conduct, criminal conduct, in this case."
Giles added that he believed Maynard deliberately turned a blind eye when individuals from off island came to him for prescriptions they weren’t able to get filled elsewhere.
"He knew that they wanted it, and thought that it wasn't going to hurt this community if they had it," Giles said. "And I think he stuck his head in the sand as a physician when it came to those persons — he didn't pay attention to his duties as he was supposed to do."
Denying a motion made by Maynard defense attorney Clive Rivers, who requested that his client be granted probation instead of jail time, Giles also said that he was concerned about Maynard's credibility, and some of the statements he and other testifiers presented throughout the trial.
"If Dr. Maynard had written a note, had detailed that he detected something wrong in the undercover agents that required the pain medication …," Giles said. "But he never made a record of his findings. So how is it that he now remembers that he felt some kind of tension, some pain in someone, when he doesn't have any findings to back that up? What triggered his memory? Does he really remember, or is he lying?"
Giles also questioned whether Maynard had allowed his sister Millicent to perjure herself on the stand during a hearing held early last month, when she testified that prosecuting attorney Kim Chisholm had previously been one of the doctor's patients and was personally connected to the Maynard family. (See "Appeal Efforts for Local Physician Dealt Minor Setback Tuesday.")
Giles said he "had to know" whether Maynard had in fact laid out such a claim, and if not, why he would allow his sister to testify otherwise. While Maynard defense attorney John Flannery later said that the doctor had "declined to comment" on the question, Rivers separately requested that Maynard be allowed to address the court and present his own statement.
Stepping up to a podium set up toward the middle of the courtroom, Maynard said that he "honestly didn't remember" whether Chisholm was a former patient of his. He also said that he was incarcerated in Puerto Rico when Flannery had filed the claim and had "nothing to do" with accusing Chisholm.
"That was not me," he said.
To the surprise of many sitting in the courtroom, Maynard's statements immediately forced Flannery to withdraw himself as lead defense counsel on the case. Sitting quietly in the courtroom throughout the rest of the hearing, Flannery only addressed the court to make two objections to Rivers' statements and to issue a final closing statement on Maynard's behalf.
While Giles continued to question Maynard's "lack of candor" in the matter relating to Chisholm, he also noted that the sentence imposed during Friday's hearing falls well below federal sentencing guidelines, which call for 15 to 21 months of jail time in this case.
"Why am I not imposing more time?" Giles asked. "Because the court finds that for all the sticking his head in the sand, the doctor did not otherwise act as a street-type drug dealer. And I find that this sentence is sufficient to punish him for the quality of the offenses found by the jury."
Giles added that he had also taken into consideration Maynard's contributions to the local community, along with testimony given on Friday by Maynard's 11-year-old son.
Moving many in the courtroom to tears, Paul Maynard Jr. spoke of the time he often spent with his father, who "taught me my Bible scriptures every day when he drove me to school."
"I am here today to ask you to have mercy on my father," he added, crying softly. "I miss him very, very much."
While Giles later argued that the case should be considered an "eye opener" for many in the medical community, he also described the sentence as "merciful," and said that at the very least Maynard will have learned the merits of taking more careful notes when dealing with patients.
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