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Courts

  • 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.

  • Cases will be heard in LA

    For a few years, Los Alamos residents headed for district court found it relatively convenient, as the New Mexico’s First Judicial District provided a judge every Wednesday to hear cases at the Los Alamos Justice Center.
    Now, with departure of First Judicial District Judge Sheri Raphaelson, after voters in her district failed to give her the 57 percent majority needed to stay on the bench, it may be awhile before district court in Los Alamos will get back to that same schedule.
    First, a judicial nominating commission has to settle on a candidate, a process that isn’t likely to be completed until March or April of this year.
    However, Los Alamos Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados has been making sure the First Judicial District of New Mexico continues its practice of having a judge hear cases from Los Alamos in the county, a practice that saves residents who have cases with the court from sacrificing entire day in Santa Fe just to attend a hearing.
    “I will continue to strive to make sure that the district court has a presence here at the Los Alamos Justice Center, either with a new judge or a judge that’s appointed to serve Los Alamos,” Casados said.

  • On The Docket 12-26-14

    Michael Krone was found guilty by the Los Alamos Magistrate Court of driving while under the influence of liquor and/or drugs (.08 or above, first offense). The original charge was aggravated driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor/any drugs (refusal of testing, first offense)
    Defendant was ordered to pay $241 in court costs. Defendant was also ordered to serve three months in the Los Alamos County Detention Center with three months suspended, with a total of no jail time. Defendant must also perform community service and undergo 364 days of supervised probation.
    Probation conditions are: obeying all laws and not be arrested or convicted of any other offense while on probation. Defendant will comply with all conditions of probation. Defendant will also enter and participate in all alcohol and drug screening programs. Defendant shall also participate and complete DWI school within 90 days. The defendant shall also enter and successfully complete the Victim Impact program within 90 days.
    The defendant shall also obtain an ignition interlock license and have ignition interlock devices installed on all cars defendant will be driving for one year.

  • On The Docket 12-17-14

    Dec. 11

    Natalia Friedland was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of improper stopping, starting or turning of a vehicle. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Delbert P. Martinez pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to failing to appear in court and for not properly displaying a current, valid registration plate. He was fined $50 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs.

    Raquel M. Am pled no contest in the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Sentencing deferred until Feb. 8. Defendant was also sentenced to defensive driving school. Defendant was also ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Zachary Sanchez 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 was ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Dec. 12

    Carl E. Johnson 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 was ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Dec. 15

    Nicolle L. Gonzales was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding in a school zone one to five miles an hour over the limit.

  • Charges could be dropped in fraud case

    A $50,000 computer fraud case may end up being dismissed, due to “right to a speedy trial” issues and a judge’s political future.
    Fernando Rodriguez, 32, is suspected of trying to steal $50,000 by computer from a bank account managed by the Los Alamos National Bank.
    At a recent status hearing, Rodriguez’s defense attorney, Mike Jones, pointed out to the court that while Ryan Roller, Rodriguez’s alleged partner in crime, has been out on bail since November of last year, Rodriguez has been locked up in jail, with no indication of when he will be tried.
    Complicating matters is that the district court judge presiding over the case, Sheri Raphaelson, may have to step down in January since voters voted not to retain her. She is appealing the decision, and oral arguments are due to be heard in the Supreme Court of New Mexico Monday at 9 a.m.
    At this week’s status hearing, Jones used these arguments to successfully argue his client’s bail down from $30,000 cash-only to a $1,000 signature bond, even though the state considered Rodriguez a flight risk and a danger to the community.

  • Drug dealer's driver earns probation

    Daniel Hoth, 29, a Los Alamos resident, who was driving a drug dealer around White Rock last year to do drug deals, was sentenced recently in Rio Arriba County District Court.
    Even though the events, which according to court documents happened between Oct. 1 and Nov. 6 of last year, happened in Los Alamos, Hoth was sentenced in Rio Arriba County because of another case occurring in Los Alamos County District Court that day.
    Hoth who was sentenced in mid-November, received three years of supervised probation with drug court.
    He, along with Albuquerque resident David Simmons, were arrested by police on Nov. 6 of last year. They were picked up at the corner of Rover Boulevard and N.M. 4 after police observed them acting suspiciously.
    A search of Hoth’s car turned up methamphetamine and assorted drug paraphernalia. The two were arrested, and Hoth was charged with trafficking controlled substances (distribution, narcotic or meth, first offense), conspiracy to commit trafficking (by distribution, narcotic or meth), possession of a controlled substance (felony, narcotic drug) and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.
    As part of his plea agreement, Hoth agreed to waive his right to a trial. If he violates his probation, the original penalties will be reinstated. If happens, Hoth could face a maximum nine years in prison.

  • On The Docket 12-10-14

    Dec. 3
    John Quintana was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to pay court fines/costs. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Manuel A. Garcia was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of making an improper lane change. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Jennie R. Keller 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.

    Dec. 4
    William Angel pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to two counts of failing to appear in court. Defendant received a deferred sentence. Defendant was ordered to pay $92 in court costs.

    Priscilla Clark pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to failing to regulate weeds, brush piles, refuse and rubbish and outdoor storage of materials. Defendant received a deferred sentence. Defendant was ordered to pay $120 in court costs. Sentencing deferred until March 3.

    Lee Keunrang was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to obey a traffic sign. He was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.