“America In Wonderland” With Mad Hatter Trump

Following is an excerpt from Lewis Carrolls’ book Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” —Chapter 6, Pig and Pepper

“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice Chapter 2, The Pool of Tears

https://bookriot.com/2017/11/24/alice-in-wonderland-quotes/

Following are a few choice classics from our President and from those who work for him:

TRUMP ON THE NEWS MEDIA

“Fake News”

“This country is doing better than it’s ever done before, economically. … But it’s all working out. Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

“I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!”

When you see “anonymous source,” stop reading the story, it is fiction!

TRUMP ON WOMEN:

“I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy.”

“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women] — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” (Tump recorded conversation with Billy Bush)

Trump has called women he does not like “fat pigs”, “dogs”, “slobs”, and “disgusting animals”, has referred to “blood running out of places” of women when talking about a female news caster and says women need to be punished if they have an abortion.

TRUMP ON RACE RELATIONS

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”

“I have a great relationship with African Americans, as you possibly have heard. I just have great respect for them. And they like me. I like them.”

President Donald Trump expressed frustration behind closed doors with people coming to the US when he said “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” referring Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa.

President Trump said in meetings about immigration that Haitians “all have AIDS”.

President Donald Trump described Nigerians as people living in huts and that they would not want to return to them. He reportedly said 40,000 had come from Nigeria and would never “go back to their huts” once they had seen America.

After a 20-year-old white man drove his car into a crowd at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one anti-racist protester and injuring 19 others, President Trump said that there was “blame on both sides” regarding the deadly violence that was instigated by white supremacists.

“No, no, I’m not a racist. … I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.”

“Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person.”

“I am the least racist person that you have ever met.”

TRUMP ON NO COLLUSION WITH THE RUSSIANS

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. … I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press” Mr. Trump said, referring to emails Hillary Clinton had deleted from the private account she had used when she was secretary of state.

Since March of 2017, Trump has tweeted that there was “no collusion” no less than 90 times.

Trump has called the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt.”

Trump then said “There was no collusion, but if there was, it was not a crime.”

After his return trip from Helsinki meeting with President Vladimir Putin Trump said “I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t. … “The sentence should have been ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. … I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself” with regard to who hacked into Democratic Party computers.

Trump has claimed that “the real Russian collusion has occurred on the Democrats side.”

TRUMP ON VLADIMIR PUTIN:

“Then Putin said, ’Donald Trump is a genius, he’s going to be the next great leader of the United States.’ No, no, think of it. They wanted me to disavow what he said. How dare you call me a genius. How dare you call me a genius, Vladimir. Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia? Wouldn’t that be good?”

“The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me!”

“But I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.”

“I never met Putin. … I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I’m a genius. I said thank you very much to the newspaper and that was the end of it. I never met Putin.”

“I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly, but there’s nothing I can think of that I’d rather do than have Russia friendly, as opposed to the way they are right now, so that we can go and knock out ISIS with other people.”

https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/03/politics/trump-putin-russia-timeline/

TRUMP ON GUN CONTROL:

“I like taking guns away early … Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

“No matter what you do – guns, no guns – it doesn’t matter. You have people that are mentally ill. And they’re gonna come through the cracks. And they’re going to do things that people will not even believe are possible.”

“I think that mental health is your problem here … We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. … But this isn’t a guns situation … I mean, we could go into it, but it’s a little bit soon to go into it. But fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it would have been — as bad it was — it would have been much worse. But this is a mental health problem at the highest level.

Trump later said we need to arm teachers in classrooms.

TRUMP ON NORTH KOREA RELATIONS:

Donald Trump said if North Korea escalates its nuclear threat, “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen!”

“Rocket Man” when referring to Kim Jong Un.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said in his first address to the UN General Assembly.

“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”

After the Singapore Summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump had this to say:

1. “We will be stopping the war games [with South Korea] which will save us a tremendous amount of money. It is very provocative.”
2. “I think honestly he’s going to do these things.”
3. “I may be wrong, I mean I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey I was wrong.’ I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”
4. “I gave up nothing. I’m here. I haven’t slept in 25 hours.”
5. On Kim Jong-un: “Well he is very talented. Anybody who takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it, and run it tough — I don’t say ‘he was nice’ or I don’t say anything about it,”
6. On North Korea: “It’s rough. It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there. But it’s rough.
7. On whether there was a recording of the meeting between Trump and Kim: “I don’t have to verify, I have one of the great memories of all time.”

“Kim Jun Un is ‘talented’ and ‘loves his country very much’.”

TRUMP ON IRAN :

Trump’s comments in response to earlier remarks by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who warned the US that war with Tehran would be the “mother of all wars” tweeted:

“To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”

KELLY ANNE CONWAY QUOTE

“Alternative facts” is a phrase Kellyanne Conway coined during a Meet the Press interview on in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s false statement about the attendance numbers of Donald Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States.

TRUMP’S CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY RUDY GIULIANI QUOTES:

“I have been sitting here looking in the federal [criminal] code trying to find collusion as a crime. Collusion is not a crime.”
“The hacking is the crime. … The president didn’t hack.”

“You can investigate an innocent person forever and forever and find nothing. When do we say enough is enough … No collusion, no obstruction. President Trump did nothing wrong.”

“Truth is not the truth.”

PEOPLE CHARGE AND CONVICTED IN MUELLER PROBE

Following is a listing of all those charged, convicted or who have plead guilty in the Mueller Russian probe of interfering in the 2016 US Presidential election:

Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman: convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to report foreign bank accounts with another criminal trial pending.

Michael Cohen, President’ Trumps long time private attorney and “fixer”: Plead guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, making false statements to a bank and campaign finance violations in the criminal investigation in New York and implicated Trump in committing campaign finance felonies.

Rick Gates, one of Manafort’s business partners: plead guilty to one charge of lying to investigators and one charge of conspiracy in exchange for becoming a cooperating witness in the Mueller probe. He testified against Manafort as the prosecution’s star witness in its case in Virginia.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser: plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations last December with Russia’s ambassador to the US at the time, Sergey Kislyak.

George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser: plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. Papadopoulos had made at least six attempts to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian representatives throughout the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, using a London-based professor named Joseph Mifsud and a female Russian national as conduits.

California businessman Richard Pinedo: plead guilty to one count of identity fraud. The plea deal’s release came immediately after Mueller’s office announced charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities accused of interfering in the 2016 US election by mounting an elaborate and multi-faceted social media influence operation meant to sow political discord during and after the race. Pinedo ran a company called “Auction Essistance,” which offered services meant to get around the security requirements set by online payment companies like eBay, PayPal, and Amazon. Auction Essistance was shut down.

Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer tied to Manafort and Gates: plead guilty to one count of making false statements to federal investigators. Van der Zwaan represents the interests of numerous Russian oligarchs. He is also the son-in-law of German Khan, the Ukrainian-Russian billionaire who controls Russia’s Alfa Bank.The institution attracted scrutiny last year, when a dossier published by former British spy Christopher Steele alleged that Alfa Bank had played a role in meddling in the 2016 US election.

13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russian citizens and three companies allegedly involved in meddling in the US political system. The charges focused on the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a notorious Russian “troll factory” that focused on sowing political discord during the 2016 US election by using internet bots to spread fake news and pro-Trump propaganda on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

12 Russian intelligence officers indicted for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 US presidential election : All 12 Russian intelligence officers indicted are members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence unit. The accusations against them include conspiring to interfere with the election by hacking computers, stealing documents, and releasing those documents with intent to interfere.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/who-has-been-charged-in-russia-investigation-mueller-trump-2017-12#12-russian-intelligence-officers-8

COMMENTATY AND ANALYSIS

At the Trump Tea Party, if you “don’t believe what you’re reading or seeing”, if it is all “fake news”, “alternative facts are not facts”, “truth isn’t the truth”, means that Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Alex van der Zwaan are all innocent people even though they were found guilty or plead guilty to the crimes they were charged with and therefore are entitled to Presidential pardons.

I am really beginning to realize that the American public are akin to Alice in Wonderland and our news media is the “chesire cat” when the cat said to Alice:

“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” — Chapter 6, Pig and Pepper

We have all fallen down the rabbit hole in “Alice in Wonderland”.

President Trump is the Mad Hatter having a “tweeting party” instead of a tea party every single day stuffing his face with McDonalds Big Macs while sitting on his bed in the White House and Rudy Giuliani and Kelly Anne Conway are two March Hares and all three are totally mad.

We Have Moral Obligation To Help Our Homeless

Below is my Guest Editorial was published by the Albuquerque Journal August 29, 2018, page A13:

The greatness of a city is reflected by the commitment it makes to help its homeless who suffer from mental illness.

NIMBY stands for “Not in my backyard” relating to proposed projects opposed by homeowners, property owners and business owners.

Both of these philosophies are fiercely raging in Albuquerque when it comes to the tiny homes 35-unit transitional housing project, the 42-unit HopeWorks Project for mental health services and housing, and the effort to build a $100 million complex for the homeless on a desolate 20 acres of land on the West Side.

Opposition arguments range from negative impacts on well-settled business areas, residential areas, crime and neighborhood safety to cost justification.

Albuquerque is in the process of deciding between greatness or benign neglect of the homeless and treatment of the mentally ill.

Albuquerque has between 1,500 and 2,000 chronic homeless, with approximately 80 percent suffering from mental illness.

The city does provide extensive services to the homeless that include social services, mental or behavioral health care services, substance abuse treatment and prevention, winter shelter housing, rent assistance and affordable housing development, just to mention a few.

Charitable organizations such as Joy Junction, St. Martins HopeWorks project, Steelbridge, The Rock at Noon Day and Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless provide services to the homeless, and do so by being where the homeless can be found and where the homeless can seek out, reach and have easy access to services.

All too often, we tend to forget our humanity, our political philosophy and our religious faith and beliefs of hope and charity, and condemn the homeless for what we think they represent or who we think they are.

We condemn the homeless whenever they interfere with our lives at whatever level – such as pandering for money, begging for food, acting emotionally unstable, sleeping in doorways and defecating in public, and, yes, when we stand downwind from them and smell what living on the streets results in personal hygiene.

The sight of homeless camps, homeless squatters in parks and living under bridges usually generates disgust.

People condemn the families of the mentally ill for not making sure their loved one has been institutionalized or is taking their medications.

All too often, the families of the homeless mentally ill are totally incapable of caring for or dealing with their loved one’s conduct.

Calling law enforcement in Albuquerque to deal with the mentally ill has a history of ending tragically, as was the case with mentally ill homeless camper James Boyd who was shot and killed by the Albuquerque Police Department SWAT in the Sandia foothills.

We easily forget the homeless are human beings who usually have lost all hope, all respect for themselves and are imprisoned for life in their own minds, condemned to fight their demons every hour, minute and second of their life until the very day they die.

One thing that must never be forgotten is the homeless have human rights to live as they choose, not as anyone says they should live.

The homeless cannot be forced to do anything against their free will or change their life unless they want to do it themselves.

The homeless should not and cannot be arrested and housed like criminals or animals.

Many homeless do not want to be reintroduced into society, and many have committed no crimes and they want to simply be left alone.

The homeless who suffer from mental illness cannot be forced or required to do anything for their own benefit without due process of law.

Too often, the homeless are the victims of crimes, even being bludgeoned to death for fun as Albuquerque saw a few years ago when three teenagers killed two Native Americans sleeping in a vacant lot on a discarded mattress.

We as a city have a moral obligation to make every effort and make available to the homeless services they desperately need.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1214429/we-must-help-our-homeless.html

Endorphin Power Company Take On Tiny Homes Project

Below is a guest commentary article written by Jeffrey Holland, the Executive Director of the Endorphin Power Company (EPC) regarding the proposed Tiny Home Project.

The Tiny Homes project is a joint effort by the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County to develop and construct a “village” or campus of 35 “tiny homes”.

The Tiny Homes will be one room structures measuring 116 square feet, with electricity only, and the village will have 25 to 35 homes in a gated community design.

The Tiny Homes will be “portable” units built on a chassis like a mobile home.

The village will be constructed on one acre of land with a common area structure for toilets, showers and a kitchen.

Six sites have been identified as a possible site for the project.

Here is a link for more on the Tiny Homes project:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/08/07/tiny-home-village-creates-giant-nimby-probl/

JEFFREY HOLLAND, LCSW

Jeffrey Holland is a clinical therapist and is currently the Executive Director of the Endorphin Power Company (EPC).

He has been Executive Director for 7 years and was the program director 2 years prior to that.

EPC is arguably the most sought-after transitional living facility in New Mexico and offers a very unique program designed to help individuals dealing with addiction/homelessness.

The EPC program also offers intensive case management and therapy for those in need.

EPC also operates a community center, fitness center and recently purchased a step-down housing triplex to help clients with their transition process while also building a rental history (if necessary).

They have operated for almost 11 years without governmental assistance.

For approx. 20 years, Jeffrey Holland Jeffrey has been involved in helping individuals who face addiction, homelessness and related problems.

Jeffrey Holland started off by volunteering with North Americas first syringe exchange program (National AIDS Brigade). This included street level outreach to sex workers, homeless, those with addiction and mental health issues as well as those individuals with Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.

Mr. Holland has also worked at multiple “halfway homes”, the Bernalillo County MATS (detox) facility, Centro Savila, and volunteers at multiple sites doing pro bono work in the field of addiction and mental health.

ABOUT ENDORPHIN POWER COMPANY

“We provide single occupancy, transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness as a result of substance abuse. We provide a safe, clean and sober living environment where people become part of a healthy community and are encouraged to set and reach goals.

We at the Endorphin Power Company see substance abuse and homelessness as both an individual and social problem. Our goal is to address that problem on both levels at once. We want to contribute to the greater good of local and global communities by promoting the benefits of healthy-living, healthy connections and environmental consciousness.

We seek to cultivate an environment in which individuals and communities foster health, happiness, and awareness through the “Four Pillars” of education, exercise, community and service to others.”

Here is a link and phone number for more information on Endorphin Power Company:

www.endorphinpower.org

Phone: 505-268-3372

GUEST COMMENTARY FROM JEFFREY HOLLAND, LCSW

“I’ve done some serious thinking over the past several days.

When I look at the Tiny Home Village project and think of all the positive outcomes that it might produce. I can easily imagine it helping many people in need. In my mind, there is little reason it should not happen. Then, I am suddenly reminded of the enormous elephant in the room. This elephant is the city and the county. Neither the city nor the county has substantial proof they can build, run or administer anything like a Tiny Home Village with any measure of success.

ABQ residents might or might not be familiar with the Supportive After Care (SAC program) apartments located on the county property at 5901 Zuni SE. This is the same location of the county run Metropolitan Assessment and Treatment Services [detox] program known as MATS. On this property sits a million dollar plus apartment complex built approximately a decade ago to create transitional housing for people dealing with addiction and homelessness.

If I’m not mistaken it has 12 apartments and can house approximately 40-60 people. I’m fairly certain it has never been at capacity. Over the years, they have tried various types of programming and even house other programs such as the women of the Milagros program (It’s called Mariposa under the county). Only recently has it started to operate near capacity. This is not a slight on the county, but it does show how difficult it can be to actually get something of this size and magnitude up and running properly.

The 5901 Zuni SE location would be ideal for a Tiny Home Village pilot project due to the already existing infrastructure, security, walled perimeter, access to services, public transportation, etc. I feel this is an absolute necessity before scaling up to what the city/county is proposing.

It is my opinion that we face a very big problem here. A problem that is very realistic. That problem comes in the form of potentially, wasteful spending. We have actual proof that this has type of endeavor has been tried in a similar fashion with the result being less than stellar or, at least, so it seems. If the city/county move forward with the Tiny Home Village quickly rather than appropriately, the results could be bad, really bad. If that happens, this will be another ART-type situation and they will never have the public’s trust in this area again. The only people who will lose are those people who need the help are the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill, etc.

This “little brother” complex that seems to be present amongst some politicians appears to guide a lot of policy and decision making. If history has taught us anything it has taught us that New Mexico (Albuquerque, in this case) is a very unique culture and just because something works in Denver, Austin, Phoenix, Seattle, Portland, etc. does not guarantee it will work or even be embraced by the citizens of Albuquerque. I believe a lot of ABQ politicians want our city to move in the direction of the previously named cities. However, the question is, are they going to do it right or do they just want to do it quick.

It is my opinion that for a Tiny Home Village to be accepted, embraced and supported, our elected officials must show the people of ABQ that it will work not just tell us it will work. This can and should be done appropriately and NOT quickly.

Therefore, as much as I want a Tiny Home Village to move forward and for it to be successful, I am beginning to realize I have very little faith in the city/county doing something they have failed at in the past. I am seriously rethinking my support of the Tiny Home Village until an actual pilot program can show efficacy, competence, trust, fiscal responsibility, and, accountability. When was the last time we had all those from any governmental project?

Here’s what I would like to see before a full-scale Tiny Home Village moves forward:

• 5-10 person/couple pilot project that will outline exactly how much it costs to provide services, support, etc. for a minimum of 6 months. This will give us an approximate multiplier on how much we can expect a much larger Tiny Home Village to cost.

• A women’s only project. The women of our community simply do not have enough resources in this area. Quite frankly, we should be ashamed of this fact. These women face challenges and trauma that most men/people will never be able to comprehend. They deserve better and we need to consider this a priority. This population has been ignored for far too long.

• After a pilot program of at least 6 months, we should see detailed financial accounting along with tangible results regarding how and why the program is working and will continue to work moving forward. Positive results cannot be ignored/denied and if it is truly a benefit, positive results will speak for themselves.

• When you can buy a 320sq ft Tuff Shed barn for under $10,000 but a 116sq ft Tiny Home is projected to cost $17k-$20k, something is a little off. These homes should go out to bid. That is not to say the cheapest bid is the best, but I have a strong feeling we can do better than the current project price per sq. ft. while keeping the Tiny Homes aesthetically unique and environmentally friendly.

These are just a few things that come to mind for me regarding this project.

I’ve seen what it takes to provide services for this population and I have run a 20-unit (single occupancy) program for almost 10 years. As a matter of fact, the city/county solicited advice from us for this project.

Let’s do it right, not quick. People’s lives are at stake.

Here is a link for more information on the Bernalillo County, SAC program see:

https://www.bernco.gov/addiction-and-treatment-services/supportive-aftercare-program.aspx

Phone number: 505-468-1569

Good luck getting an answer.

Jeffrey Holland, LCSW

DA Torrez Fails To Tackle Resource Problem For Preliminary Hearings

On August 25, 2018 Presiding 2nd District Court Judge Nan Nash notified District Attorney Raul Torrez that the District Court decided to drastically scale back the planned reduction in the use of grand juries that had been scheduled for October.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1212980/court-alters-plan-to-decrease-grand-juries.html

The District Court has decided that the decline will be gradual and will take place over time.

Chief Judge Nash notified DA Torrez that the court will decrease the number of grand jury by four days a month, or one day a week, in November and December.

The decision was made that there will be no change in grand jury panels in October because APD and the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s Department will be busy with the Balloon Fiesta.

The court has made no decision as yet what the decrease in grand jury time will be in 2019.

The 2nd District Court is the only judicial district in New Mexico that relies extensively on grand juries as opposed to preliminary hearings to charge defendants with felony crimes.

According to Second Judicial District Court data, in 2017 there were 2,551 cases indicted by the DA’s office and there were 650 preliminary hearings held by the court’s criminal division.

From January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018 there were 418 preliminary hearing with 1,688 cases indicted.

In 2017, 61% of felony preliminary hearings in the 2nd Judicial District Court led to a plea agreement at the hearing.

The National Center for State Courts has recommended that Bernalillo County use more preliminary hearings and fewer grand juries citing preliminary hearings as a best practices model.

Torrez said that after seven years of significant growth in crime rates, Albuquerque is now seeing crime on the decline.

Torrez worries that scheduling conflicts and having witnesses or others not show up for preliminary hearings will change that trend by saying:

“The effects of a 70 percent reduction [in grand juries] in under two months would have been catastrophic. … My concern is that we are going to have the same reduction, we’re just going to implement it through slow cuts over time. This is not the time to mess with a good thing … While that allows everyone to adjust, you’re still not tackling the fundamental resource question.”

District Attorney Raul Torrez strongly opposed reducing the grand jury time available arguing it would make launching new criminal cases far more challenging and far more resource intensive.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1202062/court-plans-major-cuts-to-grand-jury-system.html

According to Torrez, preliminary hearings are more financially and administratively burdensome for the District Attorney’s office and a drain on resources the office does not have to channel more cases through the process.

COMMENTARY AND ANAYISIS

District Attorney Raul Torrez’s proclamation that his office simply does not have the resources to do preliminary hearings is so laughable as to be embarrassing.

Torrez’s comments that “you’re still not tackling the fundamental resource question” and “This is not the time to mess with a good thing” will likely be challenged during the 2019 New Mexico legislative session and by none other than Democrat Senator John Author Smith.

Torrez himself has been a failure in tackling the resource problem himself after he secured significant funding increases from the New Mexico legislature and his failure to fill 55 vacant positions within his office.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney Office is the largest law firm in the State of New Mexico employing 315 full time employees including attorneys, paralegals, administrative assistants, victim advocates, investigators, IT managers and personnel and finance divisions.

During the 2018 legislative session, Torrez to his credit lobbied for and received a $4.2 million increase in total funding for the office.

Effective July 1,2018, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez has a $21.5 million-dollar budget to run the office.

More than half of the District Attorney’s $21. 5 million budget is dedicated to salaries with the budget for salaries now at $13,523,842.35.

According to the State of New Mexico Government Sunshine Portal the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office has 315 fully funded full time personnel positions.

http://sunshineportalnm.com/sample/#section=Employee

Of the 315 full positions funded, only 260 positions are filled.

Torrez has 55 vacant positions that are fully funded.

According to the New Mexico State Government Sunshine Portal, among the vacant positions with salaries listed include:

1 Chief Deputy District Attorney, $97,281.60 yearly salary.
1 Deputy District Attorney: $88,046.39 yearly salary.
10 Senior Trial Attorney positions: $79,684 yearly salary.
2 Assistant Trial Attorney positions: $65,270.39 yearly salary.
12 Legal Secretary positions: $33,238.39 yearly salary.
7 Trial Attorney positions: $72,113.60 yearly salary.
5 Prosecution Specialists: $49,545.60
1 Chief Financial Officer/Manager: $79,684.79 yearly salary.
1 Financial Specialist: $36,712.00 yearly salary
3 Program Administrator: $65,270.39 yearly salary.
5 Program Assistants: $33,238.39 yearly salary.
3 Secretary positions: $30,076.80 yearly salary.
1 Victim Witness Assistant: $44,824 yearly salary.
1 IT Administrator: $49,545.60 yearly salary.
1 Clerk position: $27,227.19 yearly salary.
1 Clerk Apprentice: $24,627.19 yearly salary.

In the event that Torrez does not fill any one of the vacant positions, the money will revert back to the State General Fund and will likely be cut by the New Mexico legislature in the 2019 legislative session.

Raul Torrez is paid $120,999.00 a year as the elected District Attorney.

District Attorney Raul Torrez employs Deputy District Attorneys, Senior Trial Attorneys, Trial Attorneys and Assistant Trial Attorneys earning as low as $53,287.32 and as high as $115,791.01 in base salaries depending on the positions held.

Base salaries paid do not include benefits paid such as bar dues, continuing legal education costs, sick leave and annual leave earned and retirement contributions to PERA made by the state to match employee contributions.

Fifty-two attorneys are paid more than $60,000 a year, thirty-eight are paid more than $70,000 a year, thirty-one are paid more than $83,000 a year, and 16 are paid more than $90,000 a year.

Forty-two attorneys are paid less than $60,000 a year.

There are 40 trial attorneys and are entry level positions with their average pay at $53,287.32.

Average starting salaries in the private practice of law for an attorney fresh out of law school with larger firms is approximately $65,000 to $85,000 a year.

Recent graduates from law school usually seek employment with the District Attorney to gain trial and courtroom experience at the expense of being paid lower wages and they usually move on within 2 years.

Virtually all the attorneys employed are “at-will” and serve at the pleasure of District Attorney Raul Torrez.

Many of the current attorneys employed can be considered “career prosecutors” given the years of experience and the amount of their salaries.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez employs at least 2 special Assistant District Attorneys on $75,000 contracts each who are retired prosecutors and are tasked with reviewing the backlog of police officer involved shooting cases.

Each attorney is commended and thanked for their service to people of New Mexico.

The higher the salary paid suggests to many that the attorneys carry higher caseloads, but that is not the case and managing attorneys carry a lower-case loads or no case load at all.

In 2017 there were 2,551 cases indicted by the DA’s office and there were 650 preliminary hearings which by appearance were handled without difficulty despite the fact Torrez had at the time 45 vacancies out of 304 full time staff and he complained about lack of resources.

Confidential sources have said that the District Attorney’s office is “hemorrhaging” with resignations with Torrez attempting to recruit experienced prosecutors from smaller District Attorney offices in the state and Torrez considering recruitment from out of state.

Senator John Author Smith, the Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee delivered a very strong message to District Attorney Raul Torrez after his success in securing more funding during the 2018 legislative session.

Senator Smith said in an on camera in interview many feel Torrez had been given “enough rope to hang himself” with the increase in his budget.

http://www.koat.com/article/senate-finance-calls-for-2-million-more-for-bern-co-da/17009425

See also blog article:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/02/11/senator-smith-tells-da-torrez-he-now-has-enough-rope-to-hang-himself/

At the time Senator Smith noted Torrez had been in office for only one year and he was still very new to the job.

Senator Smith declared that “the verdict” was still out if Torrez was capable of managing the office and producing results.

If there are no real results in the hiring and filling the vacant positions and clearing out the felony case backlog, Torrez will be hard pressed to justify any more increases in his budget and his management of the office will be questioned no doubt by Senator John Author Smith.

Mr. Torrez’s constant complaining during his time in office of lack of resources and personnel will no doubt fall on deaf ears and come back to haunt him, especially when he runs for reelection and if there is no serious reduction in the backlog of violent felony cases.

The public will no doubt learn during the 2019 legislative session if Torrez is successful in reducing the criminal case backload in the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office.

Given District Attorney Raul Torrez’s past mode of operation and attraction to the TV news cameras, do not be surprised if Torrez tells the New Mexico legislature he still does not have enough resources to do his job let alone have his office do preliminary hearings.

As the saying goes, some people will even bitch when hung with a new rope.

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POSTSCRIPT

As of August 16, 2018, according to the New Mexico State Government Sunshine Portal for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s office, following is a listing of the 94 at will attorneys currently employed and their salaries paid by Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez:

Torrez , Presiliano R. District Attorney District Attorney, $120,999.00
Martinez , Carla C. Chief Deputy District Attorney, $115,791.01
Barth , Charles Lee Chief Deputy District Attorney, $106,590.17
Hood , Lelia L. Deputy District Attorney, $101,176.07
Mendez , Adolfo Chief Deputy District Attorney, $101,176.07
Waymire , David L. Deputy District Attorney, $100,762.37
Fricke , Michael P. Deputy District Attorney, $93,363.11
Rose , Greer E. Deputy District Attorney, $93,266.25
Outler , Thomas Deputy District Attorney, $91,631.58
Ice , Guinevere Deputy District Attorney, $91,545.11
Cappon , Alesia Deputy District Attorney, $91,467.52
Grayson , James W Deputy District Attorney, $91,241.03
Eagle , Rachel M. Deputy District Attorney, $90,988.63
Speer , Neal E. Deputy District Attorney, $90,897.73
Greenlee , Jason Deputy District Attorney, $90,622.82
Duran , Roderick J. Deputy District Attorney, $90,602.86
Reed , Richard D Deputy District Attorney, $90,602.86
Garcia , Diana L Deputy District Attorney $89,864.57
Gilbert , Penny E Deputy District Attorney, $89,392.34
Williams , Timothy Joseph Deputy District Attorney $88,039.92
Gray , Hubert M. Deputy District Attorney, $86,155.41
Mannal , Brian R. Senior Trial Attorney, $85,654.35
Delgado , Alma Rosa Senior Trial Attorney, $85,625.53
Montano , Joseph A. Deputy District Attorney, $85,399.39
Murphy , David A. Deputy District Attorney, $85,273.02
Strub , Natalie R. Deputy District Attorney, $85,273.02
Hasler , Glenn Deputy District Attorney, $85,273.02
Boone , Joshua D. Deputy District Attorney, $85,273.02
Jimenez , Joshua J Senior Trial Attorney District Attorney, $85,268.58
Romaine , Les Deputy District Attorney, $85,031.35
Rasmussen , D’Ann Deputy District Attorney, $83,971.38
Sullivan , Sean P Deputy District Attorney, $82,670.17
Litchford , John Deputy District Attorney, $79,814.59
McDaniel , Claire Senior Trial Attorney, $76,291.66
Cochnar , Evan Senior Trial Attorney, $74,613.34
Coulson , Candace D. Senior Trial Attorney, $73,305.26
Bardacke , Francheska Senior Trial Attorney, $70,000.32
Obenshain O’Gawa , Rebecca O., Senior Trial Attorney District Attorney, $70,000.32
Coffing , Andrew W Senior Trial Attorney, $69,172.64
Treich Junior , Gerard Senior Trial Attorney, $68,729.23
Robertson , Joseph H Senior Trial Attorney, $68,480.51
0McKenney , Bridget Senior Trial Attorney District Attorney, $68,206.00
McDonnell , Nicholas M. Senior Trial Attorney District Attorney, $67,155.10
Roberson , Daniel Senior Trial Attorney District, $66,341.44
Murphy , Haley W Senior Trial Attorney, $66,341.44
Vigil-Roybal , Lisa Senior Trial Attorney, $66,341.44
Casias , Monica C Senior Trial Attorney, $66,341.44
Lloyd , Ellen D Senior Trial Attorney, $66,341.44
Trembley , Timothy D., Senior Trial Attorney, $64,321.69
Wilson , Nora Trial Attorney District Attorney, $63,769.64
Moore , Christopher E., Senior Trial Attorney, $63,743.03
Diamond , Steven G. Senior Trial Attorney, $63,743.03
Wells , Calvin Senior Trial Attorney District Attorney, $58,669.26
Baird , Amanda L. Trial Attorney, $58,368.85
Romero , Theresa L. Trial Attorney, $57,710.38
Rubin , Joshua Trial Attorney, $57,710.38
Maestas , Ramon J Assistant Trial, $57,710.38
Gardner , Jonathan Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Eydelman , Nina L. Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Hufford , Marc G Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Strassberg , Herbert Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Rojas , Erika S Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Crabb , Margaret J Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Walker , Johnna L Trial Attorney District Attorney, $57,688.21
Reyes , Rebekah Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Ebbers , Sarah Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Dillon , Caitlin L. Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Schotter , Ryan C Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Ralph , Stephen Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Ulibarri , Mia J Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Pardo , David Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Cortesi , Nancy A. Trial Attorney District Attorney, $57,688.21
Cassavant , Stanley J. Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
de Rijk , Kevin M., Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Hoffman , Celina Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Montoya , Joey Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Martinez , Mari L. Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Apodaca , Anthony A. Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Hernandez , Victor Trial Attorney, $57,688.21
Gutierrez , Carmen M Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,296.19
Johnson , Emily Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,296.19
Beyal , Dana M Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,296.19
Mills , Ashlee Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,296.19
Brandenburg-Koch , Savannah Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32
Peterson , Jolanna K Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32
Johnson , Jordan D Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32
Edmonds-Blevins , Emilie Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32
Pierre , Denisha D Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32
Johnson , Joseph E Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32
Talamante , Joshua T Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32
Stuart , Lindsay A, Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32
Abeyta-Montoya , Elaine A, Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32
Perl-Matanzo , Hans Sebastian, Assistant Trial Attorney $53,287.32
Hans, Sebastian Assistant Trial Attorney, $53,287.32

NOTE: The above are only base salaries paid and do not include benefits paid such as bar dues, continuing legal education costs, sick leave and annual leave earned and retirement contributions to PERA. Further, there are at least 2 special prosecutors on $75,000 contracts to review the backlog of officer involved shootings.

SOURCE: New Mexico State Government Sunshine Portal, Fiscal Year 2019, commencing July 1, 2018, Second Judicial District Attorney, listing of employees, positions and salaries

http://sunshineportalnm.com/sample/#section=Employee

Taos DA Refuses To Learn From Past Mistakes By Arguing Religious Beliefs

On August 3, 2018, five adults were arrested after a raid on a remote, squatter ramshackle compound.

Each defendant was charged with 11 counts of felony child abuse.

Eleven children ages 1 to 15 where found at the compound who appeared to be malnourished and were taken into custody by Children’s Youth and Family’s Department.

The buried remains of a child, who has now been identified as the son of one of the defendants, were also found on the compound.

The state Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) is still investigating to determine the child’s cause of death and an autopsy report has not been released.

The Taos County Sheriff has charged two adults with a first-degree felony of “child abuse resulting in death” that carries a possible life sentence.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1213074/felony-charges-for-taos-suspects.html?fb_action_ids=1889820804485595&fb_action_types=og.likes

At the August 13, 2018 bond release hearing, District Court Judge Sarah Backus ruled that the defendants could be released once they posted an unsecured $20,000 bond because the District Attorney did not provide enough evidence that they were a danger to the community.

As a condition of release, the defendants were required to find living accommodations, they have been unable to do so and all are still in jail.

The Taos District Attorney’s Office also has filed a motion to have Taos District Court Judge Sarah Backus reconsider her bond ruling which is no surprise and is the appropriate action.

A preliminary hearing will now be scheduled on the Sheriff’s charges of first-degree felony of child abuse resulting in death.

A hearing will be scheduled on the motion to reconsider the bond.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

It is obvious that the Taos County Sheriff and the Taos District Attorney are trying to get their acts together on this very high-profile case that has attracted national media attention.

The fact the Taos County Sheriff has now charged two adults with a first-degree felony of child abuse hopefully indicates the Taos County Sheriff has significantly more evidence recovered from the compound before it was demolished.

No explanation has been given why a crime scene was demolished without a court order.

Let’s hope investigators took a lot of photos to at least try and preserve some evidence of crimes at the campground.

No doubt the defense will argue exculpatory evidence has now been demolished.

The Taos District Attorney stated that before his office charges anyone with murder of the child, they wanted the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) to complete its investigation to determine the child’s cause of death.

The OMI report has not been released yet.

The child’s body has already been returned to his home state with a burial having occurred.

Needless to say, a lot more needs to be done by both the Taos County Sherriff and the Taos District Attorney before the preliminary hearing is held by the District Court to decide probable cause to charge murder.

One argument made by the District Attorney at the first August 13, 2018 bond hearing was that all the defendants charged are required to travel to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, once in their lifetimes.

In response to reference to the defendant’s faith, the court stated:

“The State apparently expected the Court to take the individuals’ faith into account in making such a determination … The Court has never been asked to take any other person’s faith into account in deciding of dangerousness. The Court is not aware of any law that allows the Court to take a person’s faith into consideration in making a dangerousness determination.”

In the Motion to Reconsider Conditions of Release filed on August 25, 2018 the Taos DA’s Office is making for a second time the same inflammatory allegation regarding the Defendants faith with the motion arguing:

“The Court in this case should have considered the evidence that these Defendants’ particular views concerning their faith required them to commit violent illegal acts at some unknown time in the future, to attack law enforcement personnel with firearms if such personnel came to their compound, and that they were currently taking active steps to train for that purpose.”

The Defendant’s faith is Muslim, and by alleging that their religious faith “required them to commit illegal acts at some unknown time in the future” is being inflammatory and prejudicial when there is no need to be when there is so much evidence revealing a danger to the public.

The District Attorney is arguing it was the defendant’s religion that was the motivating factor for their conduct to commit “violent and illegal acts” something that is going to be very difficult to prove in a court of law.

The defendants are of the Muslim faith and as such follow the teaching of the Koran.

It was reported that during the August 13, 2018 bond hearing an FBI agent testified that he was told that the children were undergoing firearms and tactical training to attack “corrupt” institutions that would be identified by the dead boy, who was to be resurrected as Jesus Christ.

It is going to be difficult or at best problematic for the District Attorney to explain to a judge or jury how the Defendant’s Muslim faith had anything to do with their motivations of child abuse and murder if their intent was to raise from the dead the child as Jesus.

Do not be surprised if the defense argues that the defendants are being prosecuted for their religious beliefs as opposed for the alleged crimes they have committed.

None of the 11 children who are in the state’s custody testified during the first August 13, 2018 bond release hearing and nothing has been mentioned if statements have been taken from them.

The New Mexico Constitution provides that defendants can be held in jail without bond before their criminal trial “only if prosecutors show by clear and convincing evidence that they are so dangerous that no release conditions will reasonably protect public safety.”

The minimum physical evidence reportedly found at the compound include:

1. An extensive arsenal of guns with no mention of the type of weapons found, books about combat an weapons training.
2. Eleven malnourished kids.
3. The body of a dead child found at the compound.
4. One defendant wanted on a kidnapping charge.
5. Admissions or statements presumably taken from the children made regarding their physical safety and threats made against them by the defendants.

No autopsy report has been released of the child found dead on the property and it should be released before the hearing on the motion to reconsider.

The 11 children who are now in the state’s custody are now part of the general public.

Nothing will prevent the defendants once released from trying to regain custody of the 11 children and exposing the children to further danger or child abuse.

Two of the defendants have now been charged with first-degree felony of child abuse resulting in death that carries a possible life sentence which no doubt will increase the chances of a flight risk.

The physical evidence found at the compound, the pending charges, statements from the 11 children in custody and the body of a dead child found buried at the compound should be more than enough to establish by clear and convincing evidence that Defendants are so dangerous that no release conditions will reasonably protect public safety.

Arguing or even mentioning the Defendants religious beliefs as a motivation for murder is a mistake.

The Taos District Attorney apparently has learned nothing from the first bond hearing before District Court Judge Sarah Backus by again arguing the defendant’s religious affiliation.

“Burden Of Proof” Confusion Reigns In Taos 5 Child Abuse Case

You have to be a lawyer to figure out what the hell is exactly going on in the case of the Taos 5 defendants who all have been charged with child abuse of 11 children.

Taos District Judge Sarah Backus releasing five defendants on bond provided they could find local accommodations to live drew sharp criticism and credible threats of violence to the point the Taos County Courthouse was closed over the threats.

All 5 adults were arrested after an August 3 raid at a remote, squatter ramshackle compound.

Each defendant was charged with 11 counts of felony child abuse.

Eleven children ages 1 to 15 where found at the compound who appeared to be malnourished.

The buried remains of a child, who has now been identified as the son of one of the defendants, were also found on the compound but an autopsy to determine cause of death has yet to be released.

None of the 5 defendants have been charged with the murder of the deceased child found.

The District Attorney is waiting on determination of cause of the death before filing any charges in the death.

The defendant’s charged all remain in jail unable to find local accommodations to live at with the compound demolished by authorities presumably with approval of the property owner.

Criminal defense attorneys for 3 of the defendants have filed motions to dismiss the child abuse charges against them arguing that a deadline was missed.

The fact that the defendants were charged by criminal complaint or arrest warrant and taken into custody mandates that they be charged within 10 days by grand jury indictment or that a preliminary hearing be held to determine probable cause.

The defense attorneys main argument is that the District Attorney missed the 10-day deadline to hold preliminary hearings for the defendants still in jail to determine if there is sufficient “probable cause” to charge them with child abuse to proceed to trial.

For news coverage see:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1212332/3-compound-defendants-file-motions-to-dismiss-charges.html

Two of the defendants have yet to file any motion to dismiss and face different circumstances.

One is a native of Haiti, told authorities she has been living in the Unites States illegally for 20 years and she was turned over to immigration and customs authorities.

One defendant was being held under warrant out of Georgia for the alleged kidnapping of his 3-year-old son and who has been identified as the child found buried at the compound, but the warrants have now been dismissed.

https://www.koat.com/article/judge-dismisses-felony-extradition-case-suspect-faced-out-of-georgia/22816572

The Taos District Attorney argued during the bond hearing that the defendants are dangerous, in part based on statements from compound children who said they were being trained for armed attacks on corrupt educational and government institutions.

Judge Backus at the bond hearing found no such evidence and set bond and conditions of release including they had to find living accommodations and wear ankle bracelets to monitor their location 24 hours a day.

An appeal of Judge Backus’ decision to allow the defendants out of jail is expected and the motions to dismiss are pending.

In another development, a magistrate judge rescinded $5,000 cash-only bond for one of the defendants that had been imposed for criminal trespassing citations.

The trespassing citations where seriously defective because they did not have a sworn affidavit alleging probable cause.

The trespassing citations issued by the Taos Sherriff were “traffic tickets” with the words “Non-Traffic” written on top by hand.

LEVELS OF BURDEN OF PROOF

An explanation of the bond hearing and the escalating levels of burden of proof need to be elaborated upon to get through the confusion with what is happening with the Taos 5 defendants.

Under the United States Constitution, an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” in a criminal jury trial and are entitled to due process of law, no matter how heinous the crime.

Further, any accused is entitled to be given an opportunity to post a bond and to be released from jail pending trial.

The New Mexico Constitution provides that defendants can be held in jail without bond before their criminal trial “only if prosecutors show by clear and convincing evidence that they are so dangerous that no release conditions will reasonably protect public safety.”

The amount of bond is determined by a judge and the amount set is intended to insure the defendant’s appearance at hearings and trial.

All too often, bond hearings, grand jury proceedings, preliminary hearings and criminal trials get confused by the general public on evidence required.

In our criminal justice system, there are 3 very distinct escalating levels of evidence that must be proven by the prosecution:

1. “Evidence of Probable Cause”,
2. “Clear and Convincing Evidence” and
3. “Evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.”

The burden of proof in all three hearings is significantly different but always the responsibility of the prosecutors to meet.

“Evidence of probable cause” is a lower level of proof required in preliminary hearings or grand jury proceeding to charge someone with a felony.

“Evidence of probable cause” is evidence presented showing it is more likely than not that a crime has been committed and the evidence provides enough grounds to charge but not to convict the accused.

“Clear and convincing evidence” is the “medium level” of burden of proof standard and is more rigorous than “evidence of probable cause”.

In bond hearings such as the one involving the 5 Taos defendants, accused defendants can be held in jail without bond only if prosecutors show by “clear and convincing evidence” that they are so dangerous that no release conditions will reasonably protect public safety.

“Clear and convincing evidence” is evidence that is positive, precise and explicit, as opposed to ambiguous, equivocal, or contradictory proof, and which tends directly to establish the point to which it is adduced, instead of leaving it a matter of conjecture or presumption.

Evidence of “probable cause” and “clear and convincing evidence” are less rigorous standard to meet than proving guilt by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

In criminal trials a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the highest standard of evidence in the criminal justice system.

The test is one of reasonable doubt meaning the facts or evidence presented lead the jury to a unanimous vote and only one logical conclusion: that the defendant is guilty of the charges.

EVIDENCE PRESENTED AT BOND HEARING

During the bond hearing, the District Attorney offered no evidence of child abuse nor the physical condition of other children found.

The District Attorney alleged that one of the adults was training children at the compound to attack “corrupt institutions,” which could include schools, law enforcement agencies and banks.

As inflammatory and alarming the claim of terrorism was, no evidence of the allegations was offered.

Judge Backus stated: “… the Court is requested by the State to surmise that these people are dangerous terrorists with a plot against the Country or institutions … The Court may not surmise, guess or assume. … judicial ethics require that judges not concern themselves with public opinion and base their decisions in the law and the evidence presented in Court.”

One very troubling argument made by the District Attorney was that all the defendants charged are required to travel to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, once in their lifetimes.

In response to reference to the defendant’s faith, the court stated:

“The State apparently expected the Court to take the individuals’ faith into account in making such a determination … The Court has never been asked to take any other person’s faith into account in deciding of dangerousness. The Court is not aware of any law that allows the Court to take a person’s faith into consideration in making a dangerousness determination.”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

All too often, sensational, violent crimes, especially those involving child abuse and the murder or death of a child, create public reactions of hate, vitriol and at times threats of violence and violence against those charged.

Further, accusations of terrorism, mass shootings and religious terrorism have many people in this country on edge.

New Mexico has had more than its share of violence against children.

Since 2001, in New Mexico, no less than 22 children, ranging from ages of 5 weeks old to 3, 4, 5 months old to 3, 4, 5, and 11 years old, have been killed because of child physical and sexual abuse. (Re: August 31, 2016 Albuquerque Journal Editorial Guest column by Allen Sanchez.)

The trial of the defendants for the murder of 9 year old Victoria Martens who was strangled, stabbed, dismembered and her body burned in a bathtub is still pending after more than two years, with some of the charges dismissed by the District Attorney.

Cool heads must prevail and ensure swift justice is bought upon those who abuse or kill innocent children and for that matter involved with mass shootings.

Our criminal justice system presumes innocence until proven guilty and demands due process of law, even for the most heinous of crimes, and not an “eye for an eye” approach to criminal justice.

Attacking our Judicial system and judge’s rulings is a familiar tactic of President Donald Trump and to “gin up” his conservative base.

It is way too easy to ignore our U. S. Constitution when you are pandering and running for office and essentially say “catch them and lock them up and throw away the key”.

All judge’s take an oath of office to preserve, defend and protect our constitution.

Judges are strictly prohibited by the Supreme Court Rules and the Code of Judicial Conduct from commenting on pending cases and voicing opinions that call into question their fairness and impartiality, especially in criminal cases.

Vilifying the judiciary is a pathetic, ignorant tactic of politicians who seek to divide in order to get elected.

Threatening a judge with violence over a ruling is an afront to our constitutional rights of due process of law and the presumption of innocence.

Threats against any judge should never be tolerated and condemned by all if we want to live in a free country.

To deny one person due process of law, no matter how much we think they are guilty, is to deny us all of the constitutional rights we cherish in this country.