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Courts

  • Fode gets five years probation for role in LA woman's death

    There were no winners in District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson’s courtroom Wednesday as Steve Fode, the man convicted for his role in the death of a 71-year-old Los Alamos woman this past summer, was sentenced.
    The victim, Emily Mares-Lang, was struck and killed by Fode’s pickup truck July 16 of this year when Fode backed his truck up on Main Street in an attempt to turn around. Mares-Lang was on the street’s crosswalk when Fode’s truck struck her. She later died of her injuries at CHRISTUS St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe.
    According to a plea deal worked out between the district attorney’s office and Fode’s defense attorney, Marc Edwards, Fode pled no contest to homicide with a vehicle by reckless driving. He will placed on five years of supervised probation, and take defensive driving classes. He will also be required to perform 48 hours of community service.
    If Fode does what is required of him by the state, then after two years he could be released from his probation.
    After the sentencing, Edwards remarked that was probably the best outcome for everyone involved under the circumstances.

  • On The Docket 11-07-14

    Records derived from the Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Oct. 30

    Delbert Herrera was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to use seatbelts. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Tori Torres was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Sentenced deferred until Dec. 28. Defendant was ordered to pay $65 in court costs, as well as attend defensive driving school and perform community service.

    Amanda J. Marksteiner was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to yield or stop at a sign. Sentence deferred until Dec. 28. Defendant was ordered by the court to pay $65 in court costs and attend defensive driving school.

    Genevieve Aguilar-Fernandez pled no contest in Los Alamos County Municipal Court of speeding six to ten miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    John B. Bdzil was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to display a current, valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

  • Raphaelson not retained by voters

    While Los Alamos voters voted to return magistrate court judge Pat Casados and municipal court judge Alan Kirk to their benches Tuesday, a different fate awaited Los Alamos First Judicial District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson.
    Raphaelson, who is also a judge in Rio Arriba and Santa Fe counties, was recalled by the voters in her district Tuesday, the official numbers being verified by late Wednesday afternoon.
    Here’s how each county voted according to the unofficial results:
    Los Alamos: 3,366 voters voted to recall her.
    2,902 voters voted to retain her.
    Rio Arriba: 3,304 voters voted to recall her.
    3,761 voters voted to retain her.
    Santa Fe: 16,001 voters voted to recall her.
    22,168 voters voted to retain her.
    Raphaelson needed at least 57 percent of the overall vote to keep her job, she fell short of that by about one percent point, with 55.98 percent of the voters voting to keep her and 44.02 percent of the voters voting to let her go, according to the unofficial figures on the website of the New Mexico Secretary of State.
    Even though the “yes” or “no” decision kept changing into Wednesday morning, when Raphaelson is usually conducting district court in Los Alamos, Raphaelson had already decided she had lost the voters’ confidence at that point.

  • Ex-teller sentenced in embezzlement case

    Valerie Lujan, a former bank teller, was sentenced in Los Alamos District Court Wednesday for embezzling more than $20,000 from Zia Credit Union in April of 2009. According to court documents, she was working as at teller at the time she committed her crimes.
    Judge Sheri Raphaelson sentenced her to a conditional discharge with five years of supervised probation, the length of which can be shortened if she pays back the money to Zia before her probation is up. According to First Judicial Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist, Lujan has to pay back $32,914.95 to Zia Credit Union.
    Raphaelson reminded her that if she violated the terms of her probation she could be sentenced to nine years in prison. She also reminded Lujan that the charge against her won’t appear on her record, as long as she follows through with her probation and does not commit any other crimes while on probation and paying back the money to Zia.
    Lujan, who lives in Española, remained quiet through her sentencing, letting her attorney, Stephen Aarons do most of the talking. However, she made a statement in court shortly after she was sentenced, apologizing to her former employer for taking the money.

  • On The Docket 10-30-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Oct. 22

    Larry Bobo was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal County Court of failing to wear seatbelts. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Oct. 23

    Karen A. Esquibel was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Trevor Orr was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of stopping, standing or parking in a prohibited or specified place. Defendant was fined $50.

    Lee Arellano was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to display a valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $50 and was ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Robert. L Swickley was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to obey a traffic signal. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

  • On The Docket 10-28-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Oct. 15

    Richard Eisenberger was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to use his seatbelts. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Janet L. Michel was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 16 to 20 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $100 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Oct. 16

    Iassac Pearson was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to display a valid registration plate while parked. Defendant was fined $50.

    John S. Harrison was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of stopping, standing or parking in a prohibited or specified space. Defendant was fined $50.

  • Los Alamos man, convicted of stalking, gets deal to leave town

    Jack Worel, a man that was convicted in January to a year of electronic surveillance for stalking a former employee of his, will not be serving the rest of his sentence.
    In a deal worked out with the assistant district attorney and the court, Worel will instead serve a year of unsupervised probation.
    According to assistant district attorney Kent Wahlquist, the state was notified by Worel that he will be moving to Washington state soon.
    “In this case, our goal is to protect the victim, and him leaving accomplishes that goal,” Wahlquist said.
    In March, the magistrate court found Worel guilty of one count of misdemeanor stalking, and was sentenced to one-year of probation with electronic monitoring.
    According to court records, Worel was found guilty of stalking an ex-employee of his in January of this year.
    The conviction stemmed from an incident in 2012 where Worel was observed tampering with the ex-employee’s car in the parking lot of De Colores, a restaurant where she worked located on East Road.
    It was later found he had installed a GPS tracking device. Police arrested him at his home two days later after they accumulated enough evidence, which including recently-purchased equipment to track and monitor cell phone calls.

  • On The Docket 10-16-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Oct. 8

    Marine Shendo was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court for failing to use a seatbelt. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Kimberly S. Temple was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of speeding one to five miles and hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $25 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Brittany Hollwell was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to use a seatbelt. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Oct. 10

    Aaron L. Even was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to pay court fines and/or costs and speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $100 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs.

    Lorenzo E. Ramirez was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Christain Chavez was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to use a seatbelt. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

  • LA man sentenced for burglary charges

    If it weren’t for a bond between two Todd Loop neighbors that once was so trusting and strong that they had each other’s house keys, Los Alamos resident John Craven could have easily been killed.
    As such, things ended better for Craven, who will only get three-years’ supervised probation and treatment for his drug addiction, according to a sentence handed out by Los Alamos District Judge Sheri Raphaelson.
    According to court documents, Craven’s brush with mortality occurred in the evening hours of Jan. 17, when he apparently decided to help himself to some of Catherine and Mike Ragsdale’s possessions while they were away.
    However, Craven’s plans were interrupted when the Ragsdales decided to come home early. According to court documents, when the Ragsdales drove up to their home they noticed their front door was wide open. They were alarmed by this, since the Ragsdales clearly remembered closing and locking it.
    Mike went into his back bedroom and retrieved his gun, and started to look around where he discovered that a jewelry box and some drawers have been rummaged through. He went to a bathroom in the residence and pushed on the door. He noticed some resistance. He pushed harder, and when it opened, he saw Craven, the son of the Ragsdale’s neighbors across the street, standing there.

  • Accused child molester faces more charges

    Christopher Davis, the 22-year-old Los Alamos man who was arrested on charges for having sex with two 14 and 15-year-old girls in May of this year, was hit with additional charges.
    According to New Mexico Assistant Attorney General Ken A. Graham, the 14 additional charges stem from the same case the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office opened up against Davis in June.
    In June, Davis was arrested on four counts of criminal sexual penetration, a fourth-degree felony; one count of criminal sexual communication with a child, a fourth-degree felony; child solicitation by an electronic communication device, a third-degree felony and sexual exploitation of children (manufacturing, a second-degree felony.
    At a hearing in district court Wednesday, Graham announced that Davis will also be charged with four counts of criminal sexual communication with a child, a fourth-degree felony; three counts of child solicitation by an electronic communication device with a child between 13 and 16 years of age, a third-degree felony; and seven counts of criminal sexual penetration, a fourth-degree felony.