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Change-Of-Venue Motion Denied In Boyd Case, 3 Of 5 New Mexicans Support Pot Legalization

Jan 29, 2016

The Latest: Change-Of-Venue Motion Denied In Police ShootingThe Associated Press

A judge has denied a motion to move the trial for two former Albuquerque officers charged with second-degree murder in the on-duty shooting death of a homeless man in 2014.

Attorneys for now-former Officer Dominique Perez and retired detective Keith Sandy had filed a change-of-venue motion in the case, saying a barrage of local media reports in the weeks and months following the shooting would make it nearly impossible to seat an impartial jury. Defense attorneys had sought to move the trial set for August to Las Cruces, about 200 miles south of Albuquerque.

During a change-of-venue hearing earlier this month, attorneys for the two officers also said the case had become politically charged.

Judge Alisa Hadfield handed her decision Friday denying the motion.

Poll: 3 Out Of 5 New Mexicans Support Marijuana Legalization – Associated Press

A new poll finds that three out of five New Mexico residents support the legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana.

The survey released Thursday by Albuquerque-based Research & Polling, Inc. found that 61 percent of residents support proposed legislation to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana sales among adults of ages 21 and over.

Support rises to 69 percent when residents are informed that tax revenue generated by marijuana sales would be used to pay for health care and substance abuse programs.

The telephone survey of 406 residents took place on Jan. 8-13. The error margin is 5 percent.

The poll was commissioned by private and nonprofit groups including licensed marijuana producers and the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance.

The Latest: New Mexico Senate Committee REAL ID Debate SetThe Associated Press

The heated debate on making New Mexico in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act now moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate.

A Senate committee meeting on proposals has been scheduled for Tuesday. But the recently passed GOP-House bill faces an uncertain future.

Democrats say the Senate Public Affairs Committee also will discuss a proposal that would create a "two-tier" driver's license system for state residents who want a REAL ID compliant license and for those who don't.

That bill is different from the GOP-House proposal passed Wednesday largely along party lines. The plan would grant state driving privilege cards for immigrants — even those suspected of living in the country illegally.

Immigrant advocates say they will crowd all Senate hearings on both proposals.

Police Shooting Suspect Allegedly Sold Drugs, Gun To PoliceThe Associated Press

Court documents show an ex-convict suspected of killing an Albuquerque police officer allegedly sold heroin and a .22 revolver to undercover officers in the weeks before the fatal shooting.

A motion filed Friday by public defenders for Davon Lymon revealed details behind two federal felony counts brought against him last month.

Documents show a count to distribute heroin and a count of being a felon in possession of a firearm stemmed from allegations Lymon sold the drugs to undercover police officers in early September and a weapon to police Oct. 2.

Lymon also faces several counts in federal court of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Police say Lymon shot Officer Daniel Webster on Oct. 21 during a traffic stop. Webster died eight days later from his injuries.

New Mexico Three-Strikes Bill Heads To Hostile SenateThe Associated Press

A recently House-approved proposal to broaden New Mexico three-strikes sentencing law for violent criminals now heads to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future.

That's because the Democratic-controlled Senate announced Friday it would be assigned to three committees, effectively dimming hopes it could pass before the 30-day Legislative session ends.

The legislation targets criminals with three or more violent felony convictions.

It passed with bipartisan support 47-15 on Thursday in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives after several Democratic lawmakers raised concerns that the law is too broad and outdated.

The proposal comes as similarly named strict sentencing laws already on the books in other states are being re-evaluated amid concerns nationally about burgeoning prison populations.

State Police: Officers Shoot Man During Arrest AttemptThe Associated Press

New Mexico State Police say state police officers shot and wounded a man as they tried to arrest him in drug and stolen vehicle cases.

State Police Chief Peter Kassetas said 26-year-old Augustine Carillo Ortiz was shot Thursday near Los Lunas.

According to Kassetas, three officers fired after Ortiz drove his car toward an officer who had gotten out of his vehicle and pinned the officer between his car and another.

Kassetas drove off but was found wounded two miles away. His condition wasn't immediately available, and state police did not immediately respond to a request for updated information.

Kassetas said the pinned officer's injuries aren't life-threatening.

Advisory Board Recommends County Deny Oil Exploration PermitThe Associated Press

An advisory board has recommended that Sandoval County deny permits for an Oklahoma company to explore for oil outside Rio Rancho.

The County's Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday said that he County Commission should deny SandRidge Oil's two requests to drill an exploratory well west of the city's limits.

The recommendation says SandRidge did not provide enough information to support the zoning change.

Critics of the plan say the wells would be too close to residential areas.

County commissioners will consider the proposal in the coming months.

A SandRidge representative declined to comment on Thursday's decision.

Ex-judge Ordered To Pay Restitution To New Mexico CoupleThe Associated Press

A former El Paso County judge has been ordered to pay restitution after being convicted of embezzling a New Mexico couple.

Prosecutors say a judge on Friday suspended a nine-year jail sentence for 48-year-old Antonio "Anthony" Cobos and gave him years of probation.

Cobos also was ordered to pay the victims at least $28,675 in restitution.

He was found guilty of embezzlement earlier this month and already is serving a four-year sentence for an unrelated 2013 federal corruption conviction.

Dona Ana County Sheriff's officials began investigating Cobos after a Chaparral couple was notified that the mortgage holder was foreclosing on their property because payments hadn't been made since November 2012.

The couple bought the land and mobile home in 2009 from Cobos, who authorities say wasn't the property's legal lienholder.

Review: 81 School Employees Don't Have Background ChecksAssociated Press

A new review says 81 newly hired employees in schools district and charter schools throughout New Mexico don't have required background checks.

Results of the New Mexico Public Education Department review released Thursday also found that background checks weren't available for 14 administrators statewide.

The department ordered a comprehensive review of background check policies for every school district after it became public Albuquerque Public Schools last year hired an administrator facing child sex abuse charges in Colorado. He later resigned.

Mora Independent School District superintendent Charles Trujillo also resigned last year after an investigation found he faked his credentials.

Under the School Personnel Act, every education professional must hold a valid professional license or certificate. Employees also must be fingerprinted and undergo background checks.

Navajo Lawmakers Vote To Fund Water, Sanitation ProjectsThe Associated Press

Navajo Nation lawmakers have approved legislation to fund dozens of water and sanitation projects across the reservation.

The Navajo Nation Council voted Thursday to use $180 million over five years from the principle of a fund established with a $554 million settlement from the federal government. The settlement came in a lawsuit the tribe filed against the U.S. Interior Department alleging mismanagement of natural resources revenue.

Money from the tribe's Sihasin Fund can be used only with an expenditure plan approved by at least 18 tribal lawmakers.

The bill now goes to President Russell Begaye.

Thousands of Navajos live without running water or access to good quality drinking water.

About $65 million of the funding would go to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority in the form of a loan.

Ranch Sale, Donation To Open Up Sabinoso WildernessSanta Fe New Mexican

A spectacular wilderness area east of Las Vegas, N.M., will soon be opened to visitors thanks to a purchase and donation of a private ranch.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the Sabinoso Wilderness has been landlocked by private properties. The rugged area was called a crown jewel by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich.

The Wyss Foundation donated $3.5 million to the Wilderness Land Trust, which will purchase a ranch adjoining the wilderness and donate it to the Bureau of Land Management.

The Sabinoso area became a protected wilderness thanks to a 2009 bill pushed by the state’s congressional delegation and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The BLM must do environmental and wilderness evaluations before the land is opened to visitors. That could take between five months and a year.

New Mexico REAL ID Debate Now Moves To Democratic Senate -

Russell Contreras, Associated Press

The heated debate on making New Mexico in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act now moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate.

But no Senate committee meetings on any proposals have been scheduled as of Friday. And a recently passed GOP-House bill faces an uncertain future.

Senate Democrats say committee hearings will be scheduled soon on a proposal that would create a "two-tier" driver's license system for state residents who want a REAL ID compliant license and for those who don't.

That bill is different from the GOP-House proposal passed Wednesday largely along party lines. The plan would grant state driving privilege cards for immigrants — even those suspected of living in the country illegally.

Immigrant advocates say they will crowd all Senate hearings on proposals.

New Mexico Three-Strikes Law Goes To House FloorAssociated Press

Legislation to broaden the state's three-strikes law for violent offenders with three or more felony convictions is scheduled for a vote on the House floor Thursday.

Rep. Paul Pacheco's proposal to add 16 felonies to the list of crimes that make repeat offenders eligible for life sentences is part of a slate of tough-on-crime bills proposed by Republican lawmakers.

The proposals come as strict sentencing laws already on the books in other states are being re-evaluated amid concerns nationally about burgeoning prison populations.

Pacheco, an Albuquerque Republican, says New Mexico's current three-strikes law is so narrow that no one has been convicted under it since it was enacted two decades ago.

Democrats have raised concerns that the bill as written would target nonviolent offenders.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday, sending it to the House floor.

State Police: Santa Fe Police Officer Fatally Shoots SuspectAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Authorities say a Santa Fe police officer fatally shot an armed robbery suspect at a motel, and a Montana man says he feels blessed he wasn't caught in the crossfire..

New Mexico State Police said no officers were hurt during the Wednesday night shooting. No details were released about the suspect or circumstances of the shooting.

However, Tim Quigg of Billings, Montana, said he was talking to a man staying in the motel room next to his when two police officers arrived and got into a shootout with the other man.

Quigg told the Albuquerque Journal that the other man began shooting at the officers who returned fire before the man ran around a corner of the building. He said the shooting ended when officers fired four more shots.

Boyd Case Special Prosecutor Wants Motions SealedAlbuquerque Journal

The special prosecutor in the murder case of two Albuquerque police officers accused of killing a homeless man wants to seal motions in the case.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Randi McGinn argues that press coverage based on background information of the parties in the motions could bias a jury. Sealing them would allow the jury to focus only on the facts the judge decides are relevant, McGinn said.

Former officer Dominique Perez and retired Detective Keith Sandy face second-degree murder charges in the death of James Boyd, who was shot in 2014 after a lengthy standoff in the Sandia foothills.

Sandy’s attorney, Sam Bregman, said he opposes sealing the motions. He had sought to move the trial to Las Cruces because of extensive media coverage. McGinn opposed that request. The trial is slated to start in September.

Thieves Steal Mail, Threaten Carriers For Tax DocumentsAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Bernalillo County is seeing a rash in thefts of mail, even robberies from mail trucks, which officials say is tied to identity theft.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that sheriff’s deputies are investigating an uptick in thefts from mailboxes, and they say they believe the thieves are trying to get tax forms.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office also told the Journal that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service reported two mail carriers were threatened last week and mail was taken from their trucks.

Stealing mail is a federal offense. Officials recommend that residents check mailboxes often, especially if they are expecting important documents.

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