Friday News Roundup: Judge Denies Defense Request In Email Scandal Case

Apr 25, 2014

Judge Denies Defense Request In Email Scandal Case - The Associated Press

A federal judge has dealt a potential setback to the defense strategy of Gov. Susana Martinez's former campaign manager who is charged with hijacking the campaign's email system after Martinez took office.

District Judge William Johnson on Thursday denied requests by Jamie Estrada's attorneys to force the prosecution to provide information regarding the Martinez administration's awarding of a lease that allowed a larger casino at the state fairgrounds.

The judge said Estrada's request involved "largely irrelevant material."

Estrada's lawyers contend Martinez pressed for the investigation of Estrada and the hijacked email to deflect attention from possible misconduct in the fairgrounds casino deal.

The judge called it quote -absurd that Martinez had any control over federal charges against Estrada.

Estrada’s lawyer Zachary Ives did not immediately respond to telephone and email requests for comment.

NM Group Pushes For More Recycling - The Associated Press

The latest figures from the New Mexico Environment Department show the state's recycling rate has dropped slightly, but one group wants to change that.

The statewide average recycling rate for 2012 stands at nearly 16 percent, or about 293,000 tons. That's less than the 21 percent recorded the previous year.

The numbers aren't out yet for 2013, but the New Mexico Recycling Coalition says it has set a goal of 35 percent by 2018.

The coalition says diverting materials such yard waste, tree trimmings and scrap metal is the secret to high rates in some New Mexico communities. The rate in Lincoln County, for example, is 57 percent.

Coalition Executive Director English Bird says Albuquerque's recently announced pay-as-you-throw program could lead to higher recycling rates. She says other cities are considering similar programs.

NM Board Adds Alzheimer's As Qualifying Condition - The Associated Press

The list of qualifying conditions for participating in New Mexico's medical marijuana program could soon grow.

The program's medical advisory board voted Wednesday to add all types of neurodegenerative dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, to the list of medical conditions.

Health Secretary Retta Ward will have to make the final decision. It's not clear when that might happen.

The Drug Policy Alliance filed a petition seeking the change. The group says medical marijuana is currently available to Alzheimer's patients in 13 of the states that have medical marijuana programs.

The group says there are more than 30,000 New Mexicans currently living with Alzheimer's disease, and that number is expected to increase to more than 40,000 by 2025.

Supporters say medical marijuana could help with brain inflammation and sleep patterns.

Law Enforcement Teams Up For Drug Take-Back Day - The Associated Press

Law enforcement agencies and health officials are urging residents to turn in their unwanted prescription drugs as part of a national effort.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, and there are collection sites set up around New Mexico, from Las Cruces and Deming to Socorro and Santa Fe.

Southwest Region Public Health Director Ray Stewart says safely disposing of old or unused prescription medication is one small step that can be taken to limit the availability of drugs in New Mexico communities.

The national event is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. In the last several years, the agency has been able to remove nearly three and a half million pounds of medication from circulation.

In the last two years, more than 10,000 pounds were collected in New Mexico.