Posts Tagged ‘rio arriba county sheriff’s office’

I won’t sound off much on this one, rather I’ll let the prepared statement handed out in court on Thursday by Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella speak for itself.

The case this all stems from is about the Juan de Dios Cordova vehicular homicide case and the unfortunate circus it has turned into court.


John Paul Chavez, top in 2011 with defense attorney Val Whitley, and below in 2003 with defense attorney Hugh Dangler. (The New Mexican file photos)

KRQE-TV’s investigative arm, the On Special Assignment team, has a scathing story on the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office (Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Los Alamos counties) and their handling of DWI cases.

Producer Jason Auslander, the former crime reporter at The New Mexican, takes a look at so many of the DWI cases in the past year or so that have slipped through the cracks in the district.

The most notable of the “poster boys” of the DWI problem that highlight the KRQE piece is the case of John Paul Chavez, who has about a dozen DWI arrests through the years and I broke the story about his latest DWI arrest in December 2010 and of his getting that case dismissed last summer because of prosecutor error.

Chavez is the man who in 2002 slammed into Elly Cote near the Santa Fe Plaza, leaving her in a coma and forever changing her life and that of her husband, Michael Cote. I covered the case in 2002 when I was first at The New Mexican and was (more…)

Isaac J. Maestas (Mugshot courtesy Santa Fe County jail)

From a story I wrote Monday afternoon for Tuesday’s New Mexican (full version here):

A jail guard at the Rio Arriba County Detention Facility in Tierra Amarilla found himself behind bars Sunday morning after police say he left three children alone in a hotel room with alcohol while he was drinking at a bar with friends.

Isaac J. Maestas, 30, of Tierra Amarilla was arrested early Sunday at the Okhay Casino Resort north of Española and charged with three counts of child abuse or endangerment of his 9-, 4- and 2-year-old children.

None of the children (more…)

Santa Fe Police apprehend one of two teenagers who escaped custody in downtown Santa Fe on Monday. (Courtesy photo from our media partner Gadi Schwartz at KOB-TV)

Police caught two teenage boys — 16-year-old Austin Serrano and 17-year-old Jordan Vigil — who Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputies say escaped custody while at the First Judicial District Courthouse in downtown Santa Fe.

The teens escaped custody of the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office, which was in charge of transporting them to the courthouse.

The two teens, who police say were in tan jail jumpsuits and were barefoot for some reason, were tracked down — one by Santa Fe Police, one by New Mexico State Police — thanks in part to cops being able to track their footprints in the snow. There are reports of one residential and one auto burglary in the area at the time of their Monday afternoon escape. Police are investigating whether the teens were responsible.

Colleague Robert Nott will have a story for tomorrow’s New Mexican as I am off today and out of the office.

Thanks to media partner Gadi “On the Spot” for sharing the pic.

Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella (Image courtest Rio Arriba County)

The defense attorneys for a man awaiting trial on vehicular homicide charges is asking a judge to hold Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella in contempt of court.

Damian Horne and Kathryn Fischer, the public defenders representing 56-year-old Juan de Dios Cordova, filed motions that also accused the sheriff of trying to taint the jury pool.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is scheduled to publish in Sunday’s New Mexican, but since I wrote it Friday afternoon I figured I’d go ahead and post here and not wait until Sunday’s print edition comes out)

Rodella’s agency handled the investigation of a May 28 crash near Chimayó in which police say a drunken Cordova drove head-on into a group of motorcyclists, killing 51-year-old Mark Wolfe of Algodones and severely injuring several others. The sheriff’s office (more…)

Juan de Dios Cordova in a Santa Fe County jail booking mug from 2009.

The ongoing preliminary hearing for Juan de Dios Cordova, the Rio Arriba County man charged with vehicular homicide, has all the drama you would expect from a Rio Arriba criminal case.

There are attorneys going at it with witnesses, allegations of report tampering, witnesses recanting their testimony, even requests to have a Sheriff’s Office spokesman removed from the courtroom.

State District Judge Glenn Ellington will decide if there is enough evidence for Cordova to stand trial in the case. He stands accused of being drunk and killing motorcyclist Mark Wolfe and injuring his wife Deb Hill on May 28.

Bill Rodgers has a great summary of the past week’s worth of drama in Thursday’s Rio Grande Sun. As often is the case with the Sun, this is certainly worth the read:

This from Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jake Arnold:

A special task force of Rio Arriba sheriff’s deputies will be conducting “saturation” patrols on northern Rio Arriba County highways Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 11-14, 2011.

This effort is directed against violators of all traffic laws, including driving while intoxicated and drivers and/or passengers not wearing seat belts.

During this saturation operation no tolerance will be allowed for any violation of those laws and no verbal “warnings” will be issued.  Any violations will result in deputies issuing citations or performing arrests.

The highways subject to this “saturation” effort and “no-tolerance” enforcement are (more…)

Juanito Jaramillo (Photo courtesy of Santa Fe County jail from 2009 arrest)

A search warrant filed in State District Court on Monday indicates police may have solved at least four reported auto burglaries from the Echo Amphitheater in Rio Arriba County over the past month.

Juanito Jaramillo, 29, of Abiquiú was arrested Wednesday by New Mexico State Police on a charge of being in possession of a stolen debit card.

That card was linked to a reported burglary of a Volvo owned by (more…)

Eddie Velarde, second from left facing camera, talks with volunteer firefighters on March 29, the day he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct at the scene of a fire in northern New Mexico. (Image courtesy KOB-TV)

Eddie Velarde, the chief of the Velarde Volunteer Fire Department, was in court Friday facing charges of obstructing a cop, disorderly conduct and concealing his identity at the scene of a March brush fire near some homes in Lyden.

Long story short, he was found not guilty without even having to present a case as Rio Arriba County Magistrate Judge Joseph Madrid granted a diricted verdict of not guilty to defense attorney Diego Zamora after the prosecution rested its case.

From Saturday’s article in The New Mexican:

Velarde’s attorney, Diego Zamora, in June served notice to Rio Arriba County that he may file suit on behalf of Velarde for wrongful arrest.

Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Lt. Adam Archuleta on March 29 arrested Velarde, 54, at the scene of (more…)

Eddie Velarde, second from left facing camera, talks with volunteer firefighters on March 29, the day he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct at the scene of a fire in northern New Mexico. (Image courtesy KOB-TV)

Eddie Velarde, chief of the Velarde Volunteer Fire Department, is considering a lawsuit against Rio Arriba County stemming from his arrest at a fire scene in March.

Santa Fe attorney Diego Zamora served Rio Arriba County Clerk Moises A. Morales Jr. with a tort claim notice of behalf of Velarde last week.

On March 29, Rio Arriba County sheriff’s Deputy Adam Archuleta arrested Velarde, 53, at a fire in Lyden, north of Española, and charged him with disorderly conduct. An amended complaint added a charge of (more…)