Charges could be dropped in fraud case

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Court > Defendant has been in jail awaiting trial for over a year

By Tris DeRoma

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.

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