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Courts

  • Attorney, court argue over who pays for eval

    Determining responsibility over who should pay for a psychological evaluation seems to be the main hold up to a Los Alamos man being sentenced for his crimes.
    In May 2014, Stephen Geisik of Los Alamos was found guilty of on two counts of criminal contact with a child under the age of 18 and count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
    However, after the trial, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer requested a psychological evaluation of the defendant. In November, the court ruled that the evaluation, which was arranged by Geisik’s defense attorney, Sydney West and paid for through the public defender’s office, was not comprehensive enough.
    Another evaluation was ordered in December and that time, Judge Sommer ordered that the District Attorney’s Office pay for it.
    Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist filed a motion in January disputing the order, citing a 1987 New Mexico Supreme Court order that states the agency that asks for an expert witness to testify shall be responsible for the fees.
    In this case, that agency is the First Judicial District Court. Wahlquist further clarified his point in his January motion.

  • On The Docket 2-5-15

    Jan. 29

    Paul J. Martinez was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding in a school zone six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit and failing to pay. Defendant was fined $55 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs.

    Deborah J. Barnes was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to yield or stop at a sign and failing to pay court costs and/or fines. Defendant was fined $75 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs.

    Sandra L. Keller was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to obey a traffic signal. Sentence was deferred until March 29. Other sentence was defensive driving school. Defendant was ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Barbara M. Forslund was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to yield or stop at a sign. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $46 in court costs.

    Feb. 2

    Anita K. Archuleta pled no contest in the Los Alamos Municipal Court of contempt of court/pxrobation violation as well as found guilty of failing to appear in court. Defendant was fined $75 and ordered to pay $225 in court costs.

  • On The Docket 1-29-15

    Jan. 22

    Jesus A. Bajarano-Dominguez 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.

    Travis W. Brown was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to display a current, valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $60 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Jan. 23

    Zachary Garcia was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of stopping, standing or parking in a restricted or prohibited space on certain streets. Defendant was fined $50.

    Jan. 25

    Victoria R. Garrett 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.

    Jan. 26

    Phillip McFerrin was found guilty by the Los Alamos Magistrate Court of battery. The case was dismissed because a witness failed to appear.

    Brianna M. 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.

  • Vigil case goes to district court

    Brandi Vigil, the Alcade woman accused of trying to cash $3,555.07 in checks she stole out the mailboxes of Los Alamos residents in 2013, will be heading from magistrate court to district court.
    However, her attorney, Tyr Loranger, almost derailed those plans, entering a motion centering on right to speedy trial laws.
    “My client informed me that she was picked up on a warrant on the 11th of September. Her release order was filed on or about Dec. 10, but she was not released until Dec. 24 of 2014. This is approximately three and a half months.” He then quoted a statute to Los Alamos Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados that emphasized a suspect in a crime cannot be held more than 10 days before their preliminary hearing if they’re in custody and no more than 60 days if they aren’t in custody.
    “In this case, Ms. Vigil was in custody, and so the state was well outside its time limits,” he said.
    The prosecution however argued that Vigil was held without prejudice, so the limits didn’t apply.
    Tyranger argued that there was nothing to support the prosecution’s claims.
    “There was not good cause established by the state,” he said. “...The exception is very clear. No preliminary hearing shall be heard after the time limits have lapsed.”

  • Judge candidates have ties to LA

    The University of New Mexico School of Law’s First Judicial Court Nominating Commission announced its list of candidates Tuesday night for the judicial vacancy in New Mexico’s First Judicial District, Division 5.
    The First Judicial District covers the counties of Rio Arriba, Los Alamos and Santa Fe. Sheri Raphaelson, the judge that occupied the Division 5 seat for four years, was voted out in the 2014 election.
    The candidates for the position include, Jennifer L. Attrep, Julia Hosford Barnes, Paul William Grace, Tyr R. Loranger and Christopher Romero. All of them are practicing attorneys.
    At least two of the candidates, Attrep and Loranger, have ties to Los Alamos. Loranger, a private attorney based in Santa Fe, is a regular at the Los Alamos County Justice Center, having defended numerous residents here.
    Attrep, meanwhile, grew up in Los Alamos and is a graduate of Los Alamos High School.
    She is a practicing attorney currently living in Santa Fe. She is the only attorney on the list that has experience serving as a district judge, having served a few months in 2014 in the First Judicial District.

  • Rodella gets 10 years for civil rights, firearms conviction

    Former Rio Arriba County Sheriff Thomas R. Rodella, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court for his conviction on criminal civil rights and firearms charges.
    Rodella was found guilty of the charges in September. The charges stemmed from a March 11 incident in which the former sheriff was involved in a high-speed pursuit in a private vehicle.
    After the victim stopped, Rodella, who was not in uniform at the time, jumped out of his vehicle with firearm in hand, entered the victim’s vehicle, and assaulted the victim with the firearm.
    Thomas Rodella, Jr., the former sheriff’s son, dragged the victim of the chase out of his vehicle and identified his father as the sheriff.
    When the victim requested to see Rodella’s badge, Rodella pulled the victim’s head up by his hair and slammed his badge into the victim’s face.
    “The American people hold their law enforcement officers to high standards, and those standards are even higher for the leaders of public safety agencies,” said Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division. “Although the FBI realizes the majority of officers perform their duties in an exemplary and even heroic manner, we will not hesitate to investigate those who betray the public's trust.”

  • Vigil heading to trial soon

    A woman suspected of stealing checks out of Los Alamos County residents’ mailboxes in 2013 is due to appear in court next week for a motion hearing.
    Brandi Vigil, 30, of Alcade, was arrested in November 2013 and charged with four counts of forgery (issue or transfer, $2,500 or less) and one count of conspiracy to commit forgery (issue or transfer, $2,500 or less).
    Both of the charges are fourth-degree felonies, and carry a maximum fine of $2,500 and 18 months in prison.
    Vigil showed up on the Los Alamos Police Department’s radar in October when officials from the Los Alamos National Bank contacted detectives over some video surveillance footage of two Hispanic females allegedly trying to cash bad checks.
    The footage, dated Oct. 17, was taken at the White Rock branch of Los Alamos National Bank. More footage came from the main branch of LANB in Los Alamos.
    The video allegedly shows Vigil, along with a friend and accomplice, Elsie Fernandez, 36, trying to pass of two checks they just stolen out of a mailbox in White Rock.
    According to court documents, one check was for $198.85 and another one was for $192.38. On the one for $198, the check was altered to be made out to Vigil Brandi, and the “1” was altered to be a “9.”

  • On The Docket 1-15-15

    Jan 7
    Bruce J. Layman was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for failing to display current valid registration plates while parked. Defendant was fined $50.
    Jan. 8
    Anna L Zerkle was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for failing to yield or stop at a sign. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Marvin Valeta was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for failing to display a current, valid, registration plate. Defendant was fined $65 and ordered to pay $60 in court costs.

    MD A Azad 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.
    Jan. 9
    Trevor Orr was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for failing to display current valid registration plates while parked. Defendant was fined $50.

  • On The Docket 1-7-15

    Jan. 5
    James Jaramillo was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for having non-functioning stop lamps, signal lamps and signal devices. Defendant was ordered to pay $65 in court costs. Sentence deferred until March 5.

    Lori L. Edmonds was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for failing to display a current, valid and proper registration plate while parked and failing to pay court fines and/or costs. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    David Sigeti was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to clean up weeds, brush piles refuse and rubbish and failing to appear in court. Defendant was ordered to pay $120 in court costs. For failing to clean up the weeds charge, sentence was deferred until April 6. For the failing to appear charge, sentence was deferred until Feb. 5.

    Brianna M. Garcia was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit and failing to appear in court. Defendant was fined $75 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs. Sentencing for the failure to appear charge, sentence was deferred until Feb. 3.

    Gregory S. Hoch 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.

  • Former pet store worker accused of embezzlement

    A Los Alamos resident accused of committing two fourth-degree felonies had the charges read against her in court Monday.
    According to court records, the defendant, HollyMichelle Bates, 44, is being accused of embezzlement and forgery, crimes she allegedly committed when she was an employee at the Pet Pangaea pet supply store, located in Central Park Square. Police were contacted by the store’s owner Dec. 12 in regards to a possible embezzlement scheme uncovered by the Los Alamos National Bank.
    Bates’ next appearance will be a status hearing before Los Alamos Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados Jan. 23, where Bates will have to answer questions about the charges against her.
    Specifically, Bates is being charged with embezzling more than $500 and less than $2,500, and simple forgery.
    If convicted, Bates could face a maximum of 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 for the embezzlement charge and the same amount of prison time and fine for the forgery charges, as well.
    According to the storeowner, the bank recently contacted over a check that was written on behalf of Pat Pangaea to Bates for $1,348.62.