Former Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. has completed his participation in a diagnostic evaluation at a state prison facility in Los Lunas and was transported back to the Santa Fe County jail on Monday.
The Department of Corrections will now complete the paperwork on the court-ordered evaluation before a final sentencing date will be set for Block, who faces up to 4 1/2 years in prison for felony convictions including charges of embezzling public funds, violating state campaign code, conspiracy and fraudulent use of a state issued gas card.
His defense attorney, John Day, said Wednesday he has not been informed of any final sentencing date being set.
Block, who has admitted to a prescription pain pill addiction, was kicked out of the Adult Drug Court program late last year, a program he was allowed to attend while his sentencing was delayed as a part of a plea agreement with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Multiple violations of the program landed him twice in jail and a third time he was both jailed and kicked out of the program.
“Your activities in Drug Court showed you still don’t understand the seriousness of your addiction,” State District Judge Michael Vigil told Block at a January court hearing. “You haven’t hit bottom yet.”
Vigil, instead of imposing a sentence at a January, said he wanted to know why Block continued to violate, adding “maybe we’re missing something.” So he ordered a 60-day diagnostic evaluation that required Block to serve less than a month in a prison facility in Los Lunas.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King has said his office wants Block to serve the maximum 4 1/2 year sentence allowed by the plea agreement.
And as a side note, as I am sure this will come up from some readers, the term “60-day diagnostic” doesn’t mean the defendant undergoing the evaluation actually serves the full 60 days in a prison facility. Once the evaluators are done with the in person evaluations, the defendant can be transported back home or back to the county jail where he awaits sentencing while the DOC completes the reports.
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