• Testimony tossed in drug case

    On Wednesday, defense attorney Kari T. Morrissey successfully suppressed key testimony in an upcoming drug case involving defendant Rowena MacDonald, a Los Alamos resident.
    In November of 2013, MacDonald was caught up in a police sweep for crystal methamphetamine. In that operation, police arrested Los Alamos resident Daniel Hoth, Albuquerque resident David Simmons and others.
    Hoth was being targeted on a warrant when police pulled him over in White Rock with Simmons in the car. A search of the car turned up crystal meth in Simmons’ possession. Simmons later confessed to police he had more in a back pack that he allegedly stored at MacDonald’s house for safekeeping, about 42.7 grams.
    Police later searched her home and recovered the backpack that did have crystal methamphetamine in it. She was not arrested at the time. Police later called her to come to the station to talk about the incident. According to Morrissey, though they read her her Miranda rights before the interview, they also allegedly deceived her into thinking she didn’t need an attorney, and that they were treating her as a witness.
    During her conversation with police, she at first denied knowing anything about what was in the backpack, but later admitted that she did have a suspicion.

  • Alleged burglar released

    If a short exchange between an inmate of the Los Alamos Detention Center and Judge Pat Casados is any indication, the couple that allegedly burglarized together apparently does not stay together.
    Ojo Caliente resident Brandi Ortiz-Middlefield, 20, went before the judge Tuesday seeking a waiver for her preliminary hearing, as well as permission to be released on a $5,000 bond until a preliminary hearing is set.
    During a question and answer session with Casados, Ortiz-Middlefield let it be known that she and her fiancé, Marcos Vigil, 21, are no longer together.
    “I want no part of him, your honor,” she said when Casados asked about her future living arrangements upon release. Vigil is still being held in the Los Alamos Detention Center on $4,000 bail. They were living together in Ojo Caliente at the time of their arrest.
    Ortiz-Middlefield and Vigil were arrested in August for allegedly burglarizing a home on Aug. 7 in the 1800 block of Sereno Street in Los Alamos. After an extensive police investigation, they were both arrested at their home in Ojo Caliente Aug. 13, and have been in custody ever since.

  • On The Docket 10-03-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Sept. 23

    Neven Farquhar was found guilty by the Los Alamos Court of driving while under the influence of liquor and/or drugs (.08 or above, first offense).
    Defendant was sentenced to the Los Alamos County Detention Center with 90 days suspended, 24 hours of community service and a year of unsupervised probation. Defendant was ordered to pay $241 in court costs.

    Probation conditions are: Conditions of probation include 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, with at least six sessions recommended. 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.

  • Plea deal in the works

    The prosecution and the attorney for Steven Fode delayed Fode’s preliminary hearing Wednesday in the hopes that they can eventually work out a plea agreement.
    Fode was involved in a car accident that killed a pedestrian in June near the post office. According to court documents, at 11 a.m. on July 16, Fode was leaving the offices of his former employer, Energy Solutions, located in Central Park Square after a discussion over unemployment benefits.
    Fode, upon driving his truck up to the intersection of Main Street and Central Avenue, reversed his truck on Main Street he noticed he could only turn right. When he backed his 2006 midsize truck up, he hit 71-year-old Emily Mares-Lang, who was crossing the crosswalk at the time. Given the severity of her injuries, she was flown to CHRISTUS St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe for treatment, where she later succumbed to those injuries.
    According to witnesses at the scene, Fode was looking left and not looking to the rear of his vehicle when he attempted the maneuver. Other witnesses said Fode was backing up “at a high rate of speed.”
    Fode’s attorney, Marc Edwards would not elaborate on details of the plea, except to say that “a plea offer has been made that does not include incarceration.”

  • Sentencing set for Rodella

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A federal judge has scheduled a Dec. 26 sentencing for a northern New Mexico sheriff convicted of abusing a driver during a traffic stop that prosecutors called a fit of road rage.
    The sentencing of Rio Arriba County Sheriff Thomas Rodella is scheduled in federal court in Albuquerque before District Judge James Browning.
    A jury on Friday convicted Rodella of pulling his gun on a driver and violating the 26-year-old man’s civil rights.
    Rodella faces up to 17 years in prison.

  • On The Docket 09-26-14

    Sept. 17

    Tracy L. Aragon was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to pay fines and/or court 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.
    Sept. 18

    Stephen Martel Day 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.
    Sept. 19

    Russell Bainbridge was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit.
    Sept. 22

    Aaron Even was found guilty by the Los Alamos Magistrate Court of two counts of fraud ($250 or less). Defendant was fined $100 and ordered to pay $126 in court costs.

    Jo A. Post pled no contest to the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to yield or stop at a traffic sign and failing to display a valid, current registration plate. Defendant was fined $25 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs. Defendant was also sentenced to defensive driving school. Sentence deferred until Nov. 20.
    Sept. 23

  • 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.