Taos County complex evacuated due to threats on judge, court staff

-Taos News staff
Posted 8/14/18

People poured out of the Taos County Complex and 8th Judicial District Courthouse in Taos Tuesday afternoon about 3 p.m. as the Albright Street facility was evacuated.

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Taos County complex evacuated due to threats on judge, court staff

Posted

Update 4:33 p.m.

People poured out of the Taos County Complex and 8th Judicial District Courthouse in Taos Tuesday afternoon about 3 p.m. as the Albright Street facility was evacuated and placed on lockdown due to threats against staff and a judge.

The courthouse was locked, but business continued inside with a civil trial underway, said Barry Massey, a spokesman with the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Meanwhile, Taos County Sheriff's deputies parked vehicles and stationed themselves around the courthouse.

Massey said callers made specific threats against Judge Sarah Backus, whose decision to release five defendants charged with child abuse because the state had not proven they were a threat to the community, prompted an angry backlash from the public. He said one caller told a court staff member they wished someone would "bash her head in" referring to Backus and another said they wanted to "slit her throat."

The county offices were also evacuated though it is unclear if that was related to the threats. 

Massey said state police have also been informed of the situation.

Taos County spokesperson Steve Fulendorf said in a press release that the threats made against the judge and staff have "not been substantiated, however, they are currently being investigated."

A civil trial that was underway when the courthouse was evacuated at 3:30 p.m. has been continued to 5 p.m., the press release stated.

Court will reopen as usual Wednesday (Aug. 15), Massey said, and law enforcement will monitor threats. 

This is a developing story.  

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