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Courts

  • Dems pick Vigil as nominee for Supreme Court race

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State Democrats on Saturday chose Chief District Judge Barbara Vigil of Santa Fe as their party's general election candidate for the New Mexico Supreme Court.

    The Democratic state central committee picked Vigil over four others who sought the nomination at a meeting in Albuquerque.

    The nomination was needed because Justice Patricio Serna retires at the end of the month. Normally voters would choose their party's nominee to replace him, but because the vacancy comes after the June primary election each party's central committee is nominating a candidate.

    Republicans will pick a nominee Sept. 8.

    GOP Gov. Susana Martinez will appoint a justice to serve until the winner of November's general election takes office later this year.

  • Officials Dedicate Sculpture

    From left to right: First District Court Chief Justice Barbara Vigil; Arts in Public Places Advisory Board member Ken Nebel; APPAB chair Carolyn Bossert; First District Court Judge Glenn Ellington; First District Court Judge Stephen Pfeffer; Los Alamos County Council Chair Sharon Stover; Artist Troy Williams; Councilor Frances Berting; APPAB Member Peggy Pendergast; First District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer; APPAB Vice Chair Becky Cordova; First District Court Judge Michael Vigil; Municipal Judge Alan Kirk and Magistrate Judge Pat Casados.

  • Santa Fe merchants sue city over rules at plaza

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A downtown Santa Fe merchants group that feels city officials have ignored their concerns about events on the Santa Fe Plaza has filed a lawsuit contending that the city hasn't been following its own laws.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that the lawsuit filed earlier this month by Santa Fe Downtown Merchants Inc. refers to public safety, access for existing businesses and the expansion of some events beyond the boundaries set in ordinance.

    Mayor David Coss says city streets are under the control of the city, which can issue a permit for groups to use them.

    Coss says the Plaza belongs to everyone, not just the downtown merchants.

    Elizabeth Pettus, president of the Downtown Merchants, says the group is seeking to define exactly what city ordinances do and don't require.

  • Local Courts: On the Docket 08-17-12

    August 7

    • Seaux L. Michelle was found guilty in Los Alamos County Magistrate court of driving while under the influence of liquor and/or drugs.
    Judge Pat Casados ordered Michelle to pay $241 in court costs and undergo supervised probation for 364 days.
    Probation conditions are: avoid being arrested or convicted of any other offense and compliance with all court orders concerning probation; defendant is required to enter and complete an alcohol/drug counseling program and complete at least six sessions; complete DWI school within 90 days; complete the Victim Impact Program within 90 days and have an ignition interlock device installed on all vehicles driven by Michelle.
    Michelle’s also not allowed to possess or consume alcohol or enter an establishment where liquor is served while on probation.
    Michelle cannot possess or own a weapon while on probation. Michelle must also meet with his probation officer within seven days and maintain contact as required. Michelle will also perform 24 hours community service under the supervision of a probation officer.

    • Luis Ponce Chitica was found guilty in Los Alamos County Magistrate Court of driving with an expired registration plate and without evidence of registration.
    He was ordered to pay $142 in court fees.

  • Rio Arriba jury convicts man in double slaying

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A northern new Mexico man who was acquitted of murder after a 2007 trial has been convicted in two other killings.

    A jury in Rio Arriba County found 29-year-old Donald Ferran guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors says the Ojo Caliente resident lured 25-year-old Joey Maestas and 27-year-old Sarah Salazar to a highway rest stop north of Espanola in March 2011 after seeing Maestas flash a wad of cash. The victims were found in a burning Honda at the rest stop.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Ferran was convicted Monday and faces life in prison. A sentencing date hasn't been set.

    Prosecutors accused Ferran of killing a woman in 2005 but could not produce a murder weapon and he was acquitted.

  • Justice for All

    Jemez Springs artist Troy Williams maneuvers his sculpture,  “The Scale of Justice,” into place at the Justice Center. Stop by and see if you recognize anyone: the 12 jurors are all modeled after Los Alamos residents. The price of the sculpture was $70,000. The dedication ceremony for the sculpture takes place at 3 p.m., Aug. 22.

  • Local Courts: On the Docket 07-25-12

    July 16

    Brenda Griego was found guilty in Los Alamos Magistrate Court of speeding one to 10 mph over the speed limit. However, Judge Pat A. Casados deferred the sentence until Aug. 17.  If Griego fulfills all the terms and conditions of the sentence, the charge will be dismissed, though a record of the charge will still exist.
    Conditions include Griego notifying the court of any change of address within 48 hours and obeying all federal, state and local laws. Though the fines relating to the charge were dismissed, Griego was still ordered to pay $86 in court costs.
    July 17

  • Court suspends Espanola municipal judge for misconduct

    ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) — An Espanola municipal judge has been suspended for 90 days without pay and must reimburse the state for an investigation of his conduct.

    The New Mexico Supreme Court made the decision Wednesday to discipline Judge Stephen Salazar.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican  reports  that Salazar had ordered a towing company to return a motorcycle that was seized in a criminal case in another court. The motorcycle belonged to an acquaintance and son of a member of Salazar's church.

    Salazar told the judicial panel that he would take responsibility for his actions.

  • Pojoaque artist sued over bullet fragments

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man has filed a lawsuit over injuries he suffered at a convenience store in May when he was struck by ricocheting bullet fragments that were fired by a Pojoaque artist.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that Elijah Mark Vera says Pojoaque artist Mateo Romero pulled a gun during an altercation with a homeless person and fired a shot into the pavement.

    The fragments injured Vera's hip and shoulder.

    Nobody was arrested in the incident, and police say Romero didn't intend to injure anyone.

  • NM court allows child support to emancipated minor

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that a teenage girl is entitled to child support from her mother after legally being "emancipated" or freed from the parent's control.

    The court issued the ruling Monday in a case involving a 21-year-old college student who had left her home near Espanola at the age of 13 because of alleged violence and substance abuse by the mother's boyfriend.