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Central County : Hearing Continued for Alleged Doctor Impostor

A pretrial hearing for Enrique Herrera, accused of practicing medicine without a license, was continued Monday for a month so that his attorney can study a report recommending that if Herrera pleads guilty, he should be denied probation but should undergo “diagnostic evaluation” before sentencing.

Herrera, 36, of Santa Ana allegedly posed as a physician for 1 1/2 years at two Emergi-Care Family Center offices in Fountain Valley and Westminster. In addition to practicing without a license, Herrera also is charged with a count of perjury, forging a prescription to obtain narcotics and 13 additional counts of forging other prescriptions.

Herrera’s attorney, Roland G. Rubalcava, indicated outside the courtroom Monday that Herrera might plead guilty, if the prosecution dismisses some of the counts. Deputy Dist. Atty. Martin G. Engquist said his office is willing to dismiss the prescription-writing charges because “part of his practice was writing prescriptions.”

A “pre-plead” report from the Probation Department recommends that Herrera, if he pleads guilty, undergo a battery of psychological and other tests at a state prison before sentence is imposed, the attorneys said.

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Rubalcava had proposed that probation was appropriate for his client while the prosecutor, Engquist, had recommended a prison sentence, attorneys said.

Rubalcava said the Probation Department report “says a lot of good things” about Herrera. But Rubalcava said some parts of the report, such as the section dealing with Herrera’s educational background, “need to be amplified” before the parties meet in court again on July 16.


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