New Mexico Officers To Stand Trial For Murder, Navajo Nation Does Own Testing On Water

Aug 18, 2015

New Mexico Police Officers To Stand Trial For MurderThe Associated Press

A New Mexico judge has ruled that two Albuquerque police officers must stand trial on murder charges in the fatal, on-duty shooting of a homeless man that sparked angry protest in Albuquerque and helped lead to reforms.

After a nearly two-week preliminary hearing, a judge said Tuesday there was probable cause for the murder case against Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy to go to trial.

The charges were filed against the two officers in the killing of 38-year-old James Boyd, who authorities say had schizophrenia and was shot during a confrontation in which police accused him of camping illegally.

Video of the shooting showed Boyd appearing to surrender before Perez and Sandy opened fire. Defense lawyers say Boyd had threatened officers with two knives.

Seven police officers around the country have faced murder charges for on-duty incidents since 2010. One was convicted of manslaughter and assault after a second-degree murder count was dropped, The rest are still in court proceedings

Navajo Nation Doing Its Own Water Testing After Mine SpillAssociated Press

The Navajo Nation says it's waiting for test results from its own environment officials before deciding whether to declare the San Juan River safe for use.

Tribal President Russell Begaye has advised Navajos not to let livestock drink from the river or use the water for crops.

Meanwhile, New Mexico has lifted water restrictions for the Animas and San Juan rivers, and Colorado has reopened the Animas to boating. Utah also has given the OK for San Juan River to be used for crops and livestock.

Begaye spokesman Mihio Manus says the tribe's Environmental Protection Agency is analyzing water samples following a leak of contaminants at a Colorado gold mine. The Aug. 5 spill sent a plume of pollutants downstream into the San Juan River.

Albuquerque Teen Curfew Proposal Withdrawn – Associated Press

An Albuquerque city councilor has withdrawn his resolution to seek a change in state law that would give local governments the authority to impose teen curfews.

Councilor Ken Sanchez made the decision Monday after Gov. Susana Martinez announced that she would put the question on the agenda for the next legislative session in January.

The City Council was set to discuss the proposal during Monday night's meeting. Dozens of speakers still weighed in on the resolution.

Supporters contend a teen curfew would help reduce juvenile crime, while others argued such measures would increase the potential for conflicts between teens and law enforcement.

Albuquerque imposed a curfew during the 1990s, but it was struck down in court following a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Nursing Home Being Sued By AG Sues BackThe Associated Press

A New Mexico nursing home being sued by the state's attorney general has now filed a lawsuit against him.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Bloomfield Nursing Operations LLC argues that Attorney General Hector Balderas violated the state public records law by refusing to release communications between his office and out-of-state firms it is working with.

Balderas' office says it has fully complied with state law and produced more than 1,400 pages of documents.

Bloomfield is one of seven nursing homes the AG sued last year.

Balderas says they failed to deliver adequate care from 2007 to 2012, jeopardizing patients and defrauding the government.

That lawsuit was highlighted in a December New York Times article about an industry that pairs lawyers with state AGs to sue various businesses.

Fundraising Efforts To Save Santa Fe Caboose Pick Up SteamThe Associated Press

Fundraising efforts to keep a Santa Fe landmark from being sold and moved out of the city are picking up steam.

The Texas Historical Foundation is offering to match donations up to $8,500 as part of an effort to keep the red caboose parked at the corner of one of the city's busiest intersections.

A foundation board member told the Santa Fe New Mexican the group offered to get involved because of Santa Fe's connections to the original Republic of Texas.

The Santa Fe Southern Railway owns the caboose and wants to sell it. It's listed at $17,000.

The railway's CEO and general manager, Karl Ziebarth, says he personally would prefer to keep the caboose in Santa Fe and is willing to work with any civic group or the city to make it happen.

Closing Arguments Set In Albuquerque Police Shooting Case -  
Russell Contreras, Associated Press

Closing arguments are set in a preliminary hearing for a former and current Albuquerque officer facing murder charges in a homeless man's shooting death.

Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn is scheduled Tuesday to outline her reasons why Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy should face a jury for the fatal shooting of James Boyd. McGinn says the two shot the 38-year-old Boyd even though he was surrendering.

Defense attorneys, however, say the officers shot the knife-wielding Boyd because he posed a danger to police and had threatened officers.

A judge could decide after arguments if the officers should stand trial.

The 2014 shooting of Boyd, who police say suffered from mental illness, sparked angry protests in Albuquerque.

Officer: Police Saved His Life By Shooting Homeless ManAssociated Press

A K-9 officer says two Albuquerque officers saved his life by shooting a knife-wielding homeless man during a tense standoff.

Scott Weimerskirch testified Monday that he was very close to an armed James Boyd, and Boyd refused officers commands to get on the ground. That's when Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy shot the 38-year-old camper.

Weimerskirch made his comments during a preliminary hearing for Perez and Sandy, who are facing murder charges for Boyd's death.

A judge is listening to testimony this week and will decide if the officers should stand trial.

Defense attorney Sam Bregman questioned Weimerskirch while getting on a 4-foot platform to illustrate how Boyd on a higher evaluation was such a threat to officers.

Federal Judge Denies Injunction In New Mexico Drilling Case Associated Press

A federal judge has denied a request by environmentalists to put on hold oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico that stems from the approval of dozens of permits over the last two years by the Bureau of Land Management.

U.S. District Judge James Browning issued his ruling late Friday. At least one environmental group plans to appeal.

Environmentalists contend the BLM's Farmington office violated federal environmental laws by approving 265 permits since 2013 and that more development could harm the environment and archaeological and cultural sites in the region.

The BLM has declined to comment directly on the litigation but maintains that it reviews all permitted wells to ensure compliance with state and federal laws.

Browning also cleared the way for the American Petroleum Institute to participate in the case.

State: Political Party Emails Identified As Spam Years AgoAssociated Press

State officials are acknowledging that emails from the domain belonging to the Democratic Party of New Mexico were first blocked from state servers after being identified as spam four years ago.

Officials with the state Department of Information Technology detailed the cause of the email flap Monday as the party called for an investigation.

Party spokesman Scott Tillman says Democrats first noticed emails being returned in July after requesting information from the secretary of state's office.

The party took aim at the office. The office denied doing anything to block the emails, saying it was the IT Department that maintained the state government email system.

IT officials said the party's domain was flagged for spam activity in 2011 after an employee in the General Services Department repeatedly received emails despite asking to be removed from the list.

Attorney General Accused of IPRA ViolationsAlbuquerque Journal

A nursing home that’s being sued by Attorney General Hector Balderas has filed suit alleging Balderas violated the state’s open records act.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Bloomfield Nursing Operations LLC contends that the attorney general’s office has improperly denied or partly denied the company’s requests for documents, or it has not produced them in a timely manner as required.

Balderas sued seven nursing homes last year, including Bloomfield, claiming that between 2007 and 2012 they failed to deliver adequate care, thus jeopardizing patients and defrauding the government.

Balderas’ office says it has produced more than 1,400 pages of documents in response to requests from Bloomfield’s lawyers and has fully complied with the law.