GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Dr. Joel Miller will be held without bond, citing that Miller is a 'flight risk'. The decision came after over five hours in court.
Although U.S. Magistrate Gordon P. Gallagher didn't believe Miller was a danger to society, he was not convinced Miller would stay in the area. Miller has a history of leaving an area without permission while on bond.
The defense argued that although Miller did leave he also did return and did not 'flee'.
Miller will be held separately from people serving other sentences.
Miller was earlier arrested on charges of health care fraud, money laundering and distributing/dispensing controlled substances. Prosecutors also argue that two of his patients' deaths can be linked to Miller improperly dispensing drugs.
If convicted Spokesperson with the U.S. Attorney's Office Jeff Dorschner said, "Based on the indictment, which was returned by a Federal Grand Jury, Dr. Miller faces a minimum of 20 years and up to life in prison for the two people that he is accused of prescribing medication that resulted in their death. There are other charges in the indictment that carry penalties from anywhere from up to 10 to 20 years in federal prison."
Supporters of Miller waited in the court room for the decision wearing t-shirts advocating the doctor. When Judge Gallagher came down with the decision, supporters were visibly upset and declined to comment on the situation.
Cheri Blake, with the U.S. Probation Office, recommended Miller be released under the conditions of being tested for drugs and alcohol, not having any contact with witnesses, undergoing mental health counseling and being confined to an ankle monitor. Even with those suggestions, the Judge stuck with his decision.