Courts

The Docket – March 14

Compiled by John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 3/14/19

The following is a selected overview of recent case activity in or related to the Taos County court system. All dates and times are subject to change.

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Courts

The Docket – March 14

Posted

The following is a selected overview of recent case activity in or related to the Taos County court system. All dates and times are subject to change.

Trials

April 15-19

Ricky Romero, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Emilio Chavez

A jury is set to convene next month for the second time in less than one year to try Taos County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ricky Romero on fraud, perjury and falsification of documents charges.

The state filed 21 counts against Romero in 2017 after agents with the State of New Mexico Office of the Attorney General gathered evidence to suggest the sergeant had lied about hours he had worked caring for an elderly neighbor between April 2012 and September 2013.

Many of those hours, the state argued last year, overlapped with hours Romero had worked at the sheriff’s office, but the prosecutor on the case was unable to convince a jury at trial last August. The case ended in a mistrial. 

For more on this case, refer to our past coverag at bit.ly/2u5PQna.

Other events

March 21

Eduardo Rivera, arraignment – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Jeff McElroy

A man charged with burglarizing a home in Black Lake after he was arrested during a standoff with police at a residence in Ranchos de Taos early this year is set to appear for an arraignment this month.

Following the break in at the home in Black Lake, which is about 31 miles east of Taos in Colfax County, law enforcement in the area and in Taos County worked together to gather evidence suggesting that Eduardo Rivera had broken into the home.

The evidence they gathered included shoe prints that matched Rivera’s, as well as DNA taken from evidence at the burgled home that suggested Rivera had committed the crime.

In court this month, Rivera will be read eight charges connected to the burglary, including residential burglary, two counts of conspiracy to commit breaking and entering, criminal damage to property exceeding $1,000, burglary of a vehicle, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and six other charges.

For more on this case, refer to our past coverage at bit.ly/2FkR1Xd.

April 1

Patrick Medina, plea conference – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Jeff McElroy

A plea deal is on the table for Patrick Medina, a 49-year-old Vadito man arrested and charged with a half-dozen drug-related offenses last year.

Medina was arrested during a multi-agency drug bust last year that swept up four other people for allegedly trafficking narcotics in the areas of Peñasco, Dixon and Cordova.

The 49-year-old, a felon with an extensive criminal record in New Mexico prior to last year’s arrest, was charged with two counts of trafficking controlled substances and distributing a controlled substance, two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon and one count of possession of marijuana.

In late February, Taos District Court Judge Jeff McElroy denied a motion by Medina’s defense attorney to have the case dismissed due to delays by the prosecution.

For more on this case, refer to our past coverage at bit.ly/2Jbk3eT.

April 8

Martin Rivera, sentencing hearing – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Jeff McElroy

A hearing has been scheduled next month to determine the fate of Martin Rivera, a 22-year-old Ranchos de Taos man who pleaded guilty to two felonies this year related to a string of violent crimes he was charged with in 2017.

Rivera was charged with aggravated battery, abuse of a child and three counts of attempted armed robbery related to an incident that took place on April 6, 2017 near Smith’s grocery store in Taos.

Court documents indicate that Rivera threatened one man with a pocketknife and stabbed another man while attempting to steal their vehicles in back-to-back robbery attempts in the store’s parking lot.

Rivera fled the scene, but investigators with Taos Police Department were able to gather samples of his DNA to use as evidence. The second man Rivera attempted to rob also identified the 22-year-old in a photo lineup compiled by police.

Later that same week, Rivera allegedly committed several other crimes before he was arrested.

On Jan. 22 of this year, Rivera pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated battery and one count of attempted armed robbery as part of a plea deal. The other three charges were dropped.

Rivera faces a maximum sentence of eight years with the New Mexico Corrections Department, from which a little more than a year and a half will be subtracted due to time he has already spent incarcerated in Taos.

For more on this case, refer to our past coverage at bit.ly/2Ja12sY.

April 15

Roger Gage and John Powell, jury selection hearing – Tierra Amarilla District Court, Courtroom TBD, Judge Jason Lidyard

A hearing next month will help determine the makeup of a jury that will decide whether two Taos County brothers shot three people to death at a home near Dixon on May 29 of last year.

Roger Gage and John Powell were arrested in El Prado last year and charged in the deaths of April Browne, Abraham Martinez and Kieren Guillemin, who were found shot to death at a home in Cañoncito, east of Dixon.

Following the shootings, investigators with New Mexico State Police said they discovered a camera system that captured Gage and Powell committing the murders, and three others who allegedly looted the residence following the shootings.

For more on this case, refer to our past coverage at bit.ly/2F9kgLu.

– Compiled by John Miller

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