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Back Local News Wise Owl vet seeks to retain Lujan

Wise Owl vet seeks to retain Lujan

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JUDGE Vernon Perez granted Dr. Joel Joseph a continuance yesterday in the proceedings related to the validity of Joseph’s controlled substance registration and the renewal of his license to practice veterinary medicine.

Joseph’s attorney, Mitchell Thompson, requested a continuance of about a week in order to have the assistance of prominent Guam criminal defense attorney David Lujan to help prepare for the proceedings. Lujan is currently off-island, Thompson said.

Assistant Attorney General Ben Abrams did not oppose the continuance.

The evidentiary hearing got underway on Friday and several witnesses testified before it adjourned in the late afternoon with Joseph on the stand. Joseph was expected to return to the witness stand. With the continuance, the proceedings are scheduled to resume next Monday at 10:30 a.m.

The hearing began two days after the execution of an administrative inspection and search warrant at Joseph’s Wise Owl Animal Hospital on Wednesday, May 7. Personnel from the Department of Public Health and Social Services Division of Environmental Health – assisted by about a dozen officers from the Guam Police Department – removed controlled substances, cartons of medical records, and clinic computers.

According to DPHSS officials, the raid was authorized by the Attorney General’s Office and prompted by concerns that Joseph was dispensing controlled substances though his controlled substance registration was revoked by the Guam Board of Allied Health Examiners. Joseph said the registration remains valid.

Criminal

Joseph said he is planning to retain Lujan because of statements in documents related to the “illegal raid.” “They say they are going to pursue criminal charges,” Joseph said. “So in order to preserve my rights in criminal matters, I’ve got a criminal lawyer.”

Abrams said he was unaware of any plans by the Attorney General’s Office to pursue criminal charges against Joseph. “The first I heard of the possibility of this kind of thing was when Mr. Thompson talked about it,” he said.

He noted he is in the civil litigation division and criminal charges would not be pursued by that division. “Never since I have rejoined the AG’s Office in 2008 can I recall the criminal division picking up on any aspect of our civil cases that do involve criminal activity,” he said. “I’m nowhere near the level of being involved in decisions by the criminal division of the Attorney General’s Office that would result in the institution of criminal charges. ... They’re on the fifth floor; we’re on the sixth floor and almost never do we discuss our cases or our caseloads with each other.”

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