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Courts

  • Rael pleads not guilty

    Los Alamos resident David Rael, accompanied by his private attorney, Bill Snowden, entered a “not guilty” plea in Los Alamos District Court yesterday.
    Rael was arrested back in May of this year as a result of a year-long investigation conducted by the New Mexico Attorney General’s office and the Los Alamos Police Department.
    The investigation centered around the Ares peer-to-peer file sharing network, and its usage by some to distribute child pornography. During their investigation, the investigators from the AG office discovered a user from Los Alamos who downloaded several files that depicted boys and girls under the age of 18 involved in various sexual situations with adults.
    With help from the LAPD and Internet service provider CenturyLink, investigators were able to track the downloads to Rael’s apartment on Gold Street.
    When brought in for questioning, Rael told police that he is not “into” child porn, that it was all an accident. When asked about the files on his computer, Rael attributed that to being blind in one eye, as well as being intoxicated at the time of their download.

  • Charges reduced against Porter

    White Rock resident Steven Porter has been released from jail, according to his defense attorney, Elden Pennington.
    In district court Wednesday, Pennington made 10 possession-of-a-controlled-substance charges go away, as well as three trafficking and seven distribution-of-a-controlled-substance charges.
    Before his district court hearing, Pennington successfully argued the slew of charges down to just four misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance charges using previous rulings in other cases as a precedent that even though the defendant may have two different pills of the same substance, it should be counted as one count. Porter is also being held on a felony charge of attempted escape from a community release program.
    In August, police searched Porter’s home after obtaining a warrant to search for items relating to a recent acts of vandalism that occurred in Porter’s neighborhood. Though they didn’t find enough to charge him with anything, they did find a bag of 560 prescription-class pills, none of which he had prescriptions for, and so they arrested him on the drug charges.

  • Hearing postponed for neighbor who pulled shotgun

    Citing a conflict of interest, a court-appointed defense attorney Michael Jones told Los Alamos Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados he could not represent his client, Darren Martinez.
    “I actually represented one of the witnesses,” Jones said to Casados.
    Martinez also noted this, saying this was the second time this has happened to him since his arrest 10 months ago. Jones told Casados he will meet with someone in the public defender’s office to see what he can do. Casados then rescheduled Martinez’ hearing until Oct. 16.
    Martinez was there for his preliminary hearing, to see if there was enough evidence against him to proceed with prosecution.
    Martinez was arrested Dec. 10 2013 for allegedly threatening a neighbor with a 12-gauge shotgun, according to court documents.
    According to witnesses in a court document on the incident, Martinez was “unsure” about his girlfriend’s fidelity. His first confrontation over this was with a 13-year-old boy who was also his neighbor.
    According to the boy, Martinez told him he didn’t want him talking to his girlfriend because “you don’t want something (sic) stupid (stuff) to happen, right.” After the confrontation, the boy told his mother, who then confronted Martinez’ girlfriend and her mother over the remark.

  • Sex assault case set for December

     Recently, the defense for Carlos Martinez, a Los Alamos man accused of committing three counts of criminal third-degree sexual penetration and one count of first-degree kidnapping, entered a motion to block the testimony of several state witnesses.
    The defense also entered a motion to allow questions exploring the alleged victim’s mental health and past sexual assault allegations.
    Scott Riedel, Martinez’ defense attorney, said some of the testimony of the witnesses for the state was based on hearsay.
    According to Riedel, one of the witnesses that’s testifying for the state used the words “psychotic,” “bizarre,” “dangerous,” “aggressive” and “threatening,” to describe Martinez during a police interview.
    “He also referred to statements allegedly made by Mr. Carlos Martinez that he in fact had threatened (the witness) with deportation, or some other sort of injury, but not bodily, but some sort of personal injury, if she ratted Martinez out about what allegedly happened,” Riedel said to the judge.

  • On The Docket 09-18-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Sept. 10

    Darlene E. George was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for speeding in a school zone, six to 10 miles an hour over the limit. Defendant was fined $70 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Sept. 11

    Amy Justice was found guilty by the Los Alamos Magistrate Court for use of possession of drug paraphernalia. Defendant was ordered to pay $148 in court costs. Defendant was also sentenced to a year of supervised probation.

    Joshua A Krepps was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to display a current, valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $25 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Julie O. Wangler was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to display a current, valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $30 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Marcus Leibrecht was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of careless driving and causing an accident. Defendant was ordered to pay $65 in court costs Defendant was also ordered to attend defensive driving school. Sentence deferred until Nov. 9.

  • Randall case resolved

    Scott Randall, the former executive director Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, appeared in Los Alamos Magistrate Court Tuesday to hear his sentence for a drunk driving charge he incurred on June 5 of this year.
    In court Tuesday, Randall’s DWI charge was also reduced to careless driving. He was not fined, but he will have to pay $81 in court costs. He was also sentenced to probation, where he must notify the court of a change of address within 48 hours.
    According to the police report on the incident, police were called to Randall’s house on the night of June 5 on reports of a domestic disturbance. According to police, Randall and his wife had an argument, and he was packing his bags and getting ready to leave the residence when he got into an altercation with his wife. According to the police reports, Randall allegedly bruised one of her wrists after he pushed her against a wall during the argument.
    Police contacted Randall later that night and told him to drive to the police station for an interview. When he arrived, he was given a field sobriety test and charged with driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
    He was also charged with battery against a household member, but that charge was dismissed in July.

  • Porter case heads to district court

    Though he fought hard for his client, defense attorney Elden Pennington could not keep Steven Porter’s two cases against him from going over to district court.
    Magistrate Judge Pat Casados ruled that the state proved its case that there’s justification that both cases against him be moved to district court. If the case was able to prove that there was no justification, the charges against him would have been dropped and he would have been freed.
    As it is now, Porter is being held on a $102,000 bond for violating the terms of release for the first case against him.
    Porter was arrested Aug. 17 at his home when police discovered numerous illicit drugs in a safe in his house. Through a combination given by Porter to the officers, officers were able to open one of the safes, where they found a gallon-sized ziplock baggie filled with 200 to 300 pills of various types. Porter was then arrested on 13 felony drug charges and seven misdemeanor drug charges.
    Police executed a search warrant on Porter’s White Rock residence originally to find evidence that he committed acts of vandalism and burglary against a group of neighbors who recently ruled against him in a zoning dispute. However, so far, police have found no evidence of Porter’s involvement.

  • On The Docket 09-02-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Aug. 21

    Darren P. Schnedler was found guilty by the Los Alamos 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.

    Tanner R. Hurshman was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $75 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Aug. 22

    Michael J. Garcia was found guilty by the Los Alamos 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.

    Kim M. Baldwin was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit in a school zone. Defendant was fined $131 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Cuauhtemoc Aviles-Ramos was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $75 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Aug. 25

  • On The Docket 08-29-14

    Aug. 18

    Maria E. Tsoodle was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Magistrate Court for following too closely.
    Sentencing is deferred, on conditions of probation as specified. Defendant is advised that completion of all terms and conditions of a deferred sentence shall result in dismissal of this charge, but the record of the charge will still exist. Absent further order of this court, this order will become final as of Sept. 18, 2014, and the charge will be dismissed.
    Defendant was charged $81 in court costs. Defendant must undergo 30 days of unsupervised probation.
    Probation conditions include:
    Defendant shall notify the court of any change of address within 48 hours. Defendant shall obey all federal, state and local laws. Upon successful completion of deferral conditions charge(s) will be dismissed. Deferral period shall be 30 days. Defendant shall refrain from receiving any other citations during the deferment period. If the defendant fails to comply with the requirements set forth, the deferment agreement shall be forfeited. Deferred fines will be imposed and citation(s) will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles accordingly. A bench warrant may be issued for the defendant’s arrest.

  • Suspected burglars get bonds reduced

    For the recently engaged couple, the judge’s order to stay away from each other was probably the worst punishment of all, so far.
    Pending the upcoming trials for their crimes, a young couple accused of burglarizing at least six homes in Los Alamos will be forbidden to see or communicate with each other until their cases are resolved. And if they are found guilty, they probably won’t be seeing each other for a long time after that.
    “You will avoid all contact with the alleged victims and anyone that might testify in this case,” said Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados to suspect Marcos Vigil, who stood quietly by his attorney’s side as Casados read his conditions of release. “That includes Miss (Brandi) Merrifield (his fiancée). You can have no contact with her. You can’t send your cousin to send her cousin a message to get to her. Do you understand that? If I hear any inkling of ‘well, we got to talk,’ you’re in jail.