Should man facing felony charge be serving on Santa Fe County grand jury?

Posted: June 23, 2011 in Uncategorized
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David Romero (photo courtesy of Santa Fe County jail)

For those who missed it, and many probably did because it was in Saturday’s New Mexican which is pretty much the lowest traffic day of the week for most newspaper websites, there is a man who is currently facing felony sex-solicitation charges in Santa Fe County who also happens to be serving on the Santa Fe County Grand Jury.

Here are the first few graphs of Saturday’s article on 28-year-old David Romero, the former Santa Fe High School athletics trainer who is facing felony charges of trying to solicit sex from a high school student through Facebook:

A man awaiting trial on a felony charge of trying to entice a teenage girl to have sex with him is serving on the Santa Fe County Grand Jury — potentially putting him in a position to help decide whether others also should be charged with crimes.

However, since he doesn’t have a felony conviction and meets all other qualifications for jury duty, nothing prevents 28-year-old David Romero from serving on the grand jury, his lawyer says, even a pending felony case in the same courthouse where he is doing his grand jury service.

“He disclosed this information when selected,” defense attorney Jeff Jones said. “He doesn’t have any convictions, so there is no problem.”

It is a potential conflict, although not specifically a violation of law, because Romero has been in plea negotiations with the same state prosecutors (or at the very least the same District Attorney’s Office) who present potential criminal cases to the grand jury Romero is serving on.

Take a look at the article. See the comments from UNM School of Law Dean Kevin Washburn, Romero’s attorney Jeff Jones and District Attorney Angela “Spence” Pacheco. Then let me know if you think it’s a conflict for Romero to be serving on a grand jury every Thursday and deciding whether others should face criminal charges while he has pending charges in the same courthouse. Leave a post or e-mail me at ggrammer@sfnewmexican.com as many of you have been doing lately (much appreciated!).

And here, for some background, are some articles on the subject:

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