Woman who assaulted N.M. crime reporter sentenced

Posted: March 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Remember our good friend Ashley Meeks, the former Las Cruces Sun-News crime reporter extraordinaire who has recently left the Land of Enchantment for new endeavors in Los Angeles?

Well she was back in the news in southern New Mexico this week, even if she wasn’t even there, for the sentencing of 75-year-old Marjorie Reese Stewart, the 75-year-old disgruntled reader/grandma who assaulted Meeks in a federal courthouse in September. Stewart on Thursday was sentenced to one year of probation, a $250 fine (that’s like two weeks pay for a journalist) and 10 hours of community service for the misdemeanor assault conviction.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Thursday sent out the following update:

LAS CRUCES – This morning, Marjorie Reese Stewart, 75, a retired attorney from Kingston, N.M., was sentenced to a one year term of probation, a $250 fine and 10 hours of community service for her misdemeanor assault conviction.

Reese Stewart was charged in a criminal complaint filed on September 29, 2011 that alleged that Reese Stewart physically assaulted a Las Cruces Sun-News reporter in the federal courthouse in Las Cruces on September 19, 2011.  Reese Stewart was convicted of simple assault on January 4, 2012 after a bench trial before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on January 4, 2012.

The evidence at trial established that on the afternoon of September 19, 2011, Reese Stewart and the reporter attended a proceeding in the case United States v. Reese, during which a U.S. District Judge overruled an order permitting defendant Remington Reese from being released to the custody of his grandmother, Reese Stewart, and ordered Remington Reese detained pending trial.  After the proceeding, while the reporter was standing outside the courtroom, Reese Stewart elbowed the reporter “hard” in the stomach as Reese Stewart walked out of the courtroom.  Shortly thereafter, as the reporter approached a female acquaintance with the intention of greeting her, Reese Stewart extended her right arm and hand and grabbed the reporter by the neck and left shoulder.  Reese Stewart then shoved the reporter away from the female without saying a word to the reporter.  Reese Stewart walked away after speaking briefly with the female.  One of the security cameras in the courthouse recorded Reese Stewart’s actions as she grabbed the reporter and shoved her away.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that the case was investigated by the U.S. Marshal’s Service and the U.S. Federal Protective Service, a federal agency responsible for conducting general federal police duties and enforcing federal law on federal property.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron O. Jordan.

Sam Bregman, one of New Mexico’s more highly-connected defense attorneys, represented Stewart and told the Sun-News he thought it was a joke the federal government was seeking a jail sentence for the incident.

“I am disappointed that the government thought it would be appropriate to put this 75 year old woman in jail,” Bregman told the Sun-News. “I don’t know what purpose that would have served.”

And here, for your viewing/reading pleasure, is a list of past posts I had from Meeks’ coverage at the Sun-News:

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