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N.M. Supreme Court rejects sheriff’s office petition

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By Tris DeRoma

The New Mexico Supreme Court has rejected a petition from Los Alamos County sheriff candidate Greg White.

In October, White petitioned the court to settle an 18-month legal standoff between the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office and the county.

Council wants the First Judicial Court of Santa Fe to decide if Los Alamos County’s charter permits them to abolish the office. The Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office, headed by Marco Lucero, believes the county needs to follow state statutes, which do not permit such an action. Lucero and his attorney A. Blair Dunn believe state statutes protects the office from local officials seeking to abolish it.

On Nov. 13, the court entered the denial without an explanation.

“Basically, all the Supreme Court decision did was, they punted the ball back to me,” White said. “They said, start in district court and basically we’re going to hope everyone’s happy and lives with the district court decision and doesn’t appeal it.”

White plans to do that, and thanked the court for taking a month to consider his request. According to White, the supreme court is usually quicker. 

“They usually take two or three days to decide they aren’t going to hear a case,” White said.  “The fact they took an entire month to decide, means they took my writ very seriously. They researched things, they talked among themselves at length.”

White believes he’s going to have better success when he files in district court.

“Technically advantageous to me. When you go to district court you only get 10 pages for your argument. You can also put whatever you want for attachments, so I’m going to put as an attachment my writ to the supreme court,” White said. “Now, instead of having just 10 pages to argue I’ve got 27 pages of argument.”

White hoped his petition would’ve helped him achieved three goals that he says will make the sheriff’s office a functioning office. The first thing he would like to see is the restoration of the sheriff’s budget to $225,000. He also wants the undersheriff and executive secretary positions  restored to the office, something he said is required by state statute.

He would also like all services to be restored and that the office is equipped with its own patrol vehicle, updated radio equipment and that the county should pay for basic, ongoing training at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy.