As expected, attorneys for California trainer Jeff Mullins have filed legal papers seeking a stay of action by the California Horse Racing Board imposing a 70-day suspension, beginning June 1.
The filings in Superior Court, County of San Diego, Central District, request a hearing May 26 or soon thereafter. In the filings, Mullins’ attorneys seek a stay of the suspension, which has been imposed by the CHRB on grounds that the trainer violated terms of a probation stemming from a 2006 medication positive on a horse he trained. See related story
In a ruling dated April 28, CHRB commissioners meeting in executive session rejected a hearing officer’s recommendation to suspend Mullins for 60 days for violating his probation in the 2006 case, with a credit for the 20 days he served in 2008. Regulators instead imposed the full 90-day ban contained in the original ruling, meaning Mullins must still serve 70 days.
Under the original decision, the balance of the suspension was stayed provided he have no further medication violations for a period of one year. However, a complaint alleging Mullins committed a Class III infraction for excessive total carbon dioxide (commonly known as a “milkshake”) was filed later in the year in connection with the horse Pathbreaking. The complaint was ultimately upheld and Mullins served a 30-day suspension for that last year.
A subsequent hearing dealt with the probation violation issue before Steffan Imhoff, a hearing officer/appellate judge appointed by the CHRB, who recommended the lighter suspension late last year.
In the latest filing, the attorneys seek to have the June 1 suspension stayed on the following grounds:
--The court has the discretion to stay the CHRB’s decision to suspend Mullins' license pending a hearing on Mullins’ petition;
--The public interest will not suffer if the stay issued;
--The agency will be unlikely to ultimately prevail on the merits;
--Mullins was unlawfully precluded from obtaining or presenting evidence of the CHRB’s bias as an investigator, witness, and trier of face.