KUNM

Jury Selected In Police Shooting Case, UNM To Freeze Staff Hiring

Sep 13, 2016

Jury Selected For 2 Officers Charged In Homeless Man's Death – The Associated Press 

A jury has been selected in the trial of two former Albuquerque police officers who are scheduled to stand trial next week in the on-duty shooting death of a homeless man in 2014.

The 12 jurors were agreed upon Tuesday by the special prosecutor in the case and the attorneys representing each of the officers charged. Four alternate jurors also were selected.

Now-retired Detective Keith Sandy and former Officer Dominique Perez are charged with second-degree murder in the death of 38-year-old James Boyd, who was shot following a stand-off with nearly 20 officers. Authorities say he had two knives with him during the stand-off.

The trial for the former officers comes as shootings by police have sparked debate in cities nationwide.

Opening statements in the trial are expected to begin Monday.

UNM To Freeze Staff Hiring To Address Possible Budget Cuts – The Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

University of New Mexico President Bob Frank says the school will freeze staff hiring in an attempt to address possible budget cuts from the state.

Frank also told the Board of Regents on Tuesday that UNM may hire fewer faculty, which could affect the number of classes offered.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Frank also has instructed officials with academic affairs, the administration and the Health Sciences Center to prepare for a 5 percent budget cut in anticipation of a potential state cut to the current budget.

Last month, Gov. Susana Martinez ordered state agencies to reduce their spending by at least 5 percent. However, that directive didn't apply to public schools and universities.

Martinez is expected to call a special legislative session on the budget shortfall later this month.

LANL Employee’s Device Prompted Sunport Shutdown – Albuquerque Journal

The device that spurred officials to shut down the Albuquerque International Sunport was a mockup of a technical device and belonged to a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Jeremy Danielson was taking the device to a Department of Energy conference in Washington D.C. and told Transportation Security Administration officials about it because he knew it would draw their attention.

Danielson intended to explain it was not an explosive device, according to a criminal complaint. But he was arrested and charged with having a hoax bomb or explosive. LANL confirmed Danielson was traveling on business. He has no criminal background.

Danielson was released on bond. His attorney, Dan Cron, expressed surprised his client was charged. The investigation is ongoing.

Group Eyes Blocking New Mexico Border Town Area AnnexationThe Associated Press & The Las Cruces Sun News

A group seeking to incorporate a booming border town in New Mexico is seeking an injunction to stop the annexation of its land by a nearby city.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the Provisional Government of Santa Teresa wants to block Sunland Park from annexing 229 acres.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday names the city of Sunland Park and Socorro Partners, a limited liability company that twice petitioned Sunland Park for annexation earlier this year

Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea says he is aware of the lawsuit, but couldn't comment.

A nearby booming port of entry, also called Santa Teresa, is not part of the annexation talks.

Ex-New Mexico Lawyer Gets 37-Month Prison Term In Fraud CaseAssociated Press

A former lawyer for the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Administration has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for Social Security fraud and wire fraud.

Prosecutors say 61-year-old Juanita Roibal-Bradley of Albuquerque was accused of defrauding the Social Security Administration of more than $40,000 and an estate and its beneficiaries of almost $572,000.

She's been ordered to pay nearly $18,000 in restitution to the SSA with the amount of restitution to the estate heirs to be determined later by the court.

Roibal-Bradley was an administrative judge at the state WCA from 2003 to 2007.

She was indicted for providing legal services for an estate between 2012 and 2013 when she was prohibited from practicing law and fraudulently transferring estate funds to her bank account.

Judge’s Ruling Means Sick Leave Ordinance Will Not Be On BallotKOB-TV

District Judge Alan Malott ruled Monday night that the full text of a proposed sick leave ordinance in Albuquerque must appear on the ballot, not just a summary.

KOB-TV reports this means the ordinance will not be on this year’s election ballot. Bernalillo County Commissioners decided last week not to put the initiative on before voters this fall because the full text was needed and it was too large to fit. That prompted the hearing on Monday.

Supporters who gathered petition signatures in support of the ordinance were pushing for a summary of the text. The issue will now likely be part of a future election.

Martinez Appoints Deputy Secretary To Lead Environment DepartmentSanta Fe New Mexican

Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed Butch Tongate to lead the New Mexico Environment Department following the departure of Former Secretary Ryan Flynn.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Tongate has served in various positions at NMED for more than two decades, most recently as deputy secretary. He has been acting secretary since Flynn left in August to lead the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.

Tongate will be the third Environment Department secretary since Martinez took office in 2011. He must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Critics of the department say Flynn’s departure to an industry group indicates NMED is too close to industries it regulates. The New Mexican also reported a chemical company has received more favorable treatment under the Martinez Administration.

NMED officials declined to comment on those criticisms, but Tongate released a statement saying the Environment Department serves the state when it protects resources while also allowing businesses to grow.

Lightning Blamed For New Mexico's Latest Power OutagesAssociated Press

New Mexico's largest electric provider has restored power to thousands of customers following multiple outages throughout central New Mexico.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico reported outages from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and south toward Belen on Monday afternoon. Residential and business customers were affected.

Utility spokesman Pahl Shipley said the initial investigation indicates lightning played a role in the disruption of a high-voltage transmission line in northwestern New Mexico.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning Monday afternoon as storms crossed over the region.

PNM customers have experienced a number of outages in recent weeks.

More than 3,000 customers in the Albuquerque area had their power go out Sunday evening. In early August, lightning was to blame for a major outage in parts of central New Mexico.

New Mexico AG Eyes Hospital's Obstetrical Services ClosingAssociated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is demanding answers from a northern New Mexico hospital that ended obstetrical and delivery services six months ago.

Balderas sent letters last week to leaders of the Alta Vista Regional Hospital in Las Vegas and said the closure had left an unacceptable gap in services for women in the area.

The sudden closure left dozens of pregnant women without a local hospital to deliver newborns.

The Democrat stopped short of threatening any action but said he is "tasked with oversight of charitable organizations in New Mexico."

Hospital spokeswoman Linda Leyba says the hospital is preparing a response that includes additional information on our progress in re-opening an obstetrics program.

The hospital previously said the closure was due to "market conditions."

Groups Rekindle Battle Over Lesser Prairie Chicken - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Four months after the federal government gave up a court fight to keep the lesser prairie chicken on the endangered species list, environmentalists say there's new evidence that warrants listing the bird again.

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, arguing that key populations are in danger of extinction as climate change exacerbates problems caused by energy development, farming and other infrastructure such as roads and power lines.

The groups say emergency protections are needed for isolated populations along the Texas-New Mexico border, in Colorado and western Kansas.

Following court rulings in Texas that stripped the bird of protection, federal officials moved in July to formally remove it from the list. The agency has said the bird's status would be re-evaluated.

Group Eyes Blocking New Mexico Border Town Area Annexation Las Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

A group seeking to incorporate a booming border town in New Mexico is seeking an injunction to stop the annexation of its land by a nearby city.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the Provisional Government of Santa Teresa wants to block Sunland Park from annexing 229 acres.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday names the city of Sunland Park and Socorro Partners, a limited liability company that twice petitioned Sunland Park for annexation earlier this year

Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea says he is aware of the lawsuit, but couldn't comment.

A nearby booming port of entry, also called Santa Teresa, is not part of the annexation talks.

Jury Selection Begins In Trial For 2 OfficersAssociated Press

An attorney prosecuting two former police officers charged with second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of a homeless man has asked potential jurors with law enforcement ties whether they could be fair and impartial in deciding the case.

Opening statements and testimony in the trial for now-retired Detective Keith Sandy and former Officer Dominique Perez are scheduled to get underway next week. Jury selection in the case began Monday.

In her opening remarks to prospective jurors, special prosecutor Randi McGinn said the issue of shootings by police has become "one of the most polarizing issues of our time."

The court faces the challenge of seating an impartial jury in a case that received extensive media attention when 38-year-old James Boyd was fatally shot two years ago following a hillside standoff with more than a dozen officers.

Johnson Races Around US To Qualify For Presidential DebatesAssociated Press

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is crisscrossing the country in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to boost his national poll numbers and qualify for the presidential debates.

Johnson needs to reach an average of 15 percent in five national polls that the Commission on Presidential Debates relies upon to qualify for the first presidential debate on Sept. 26. But even his campaign manager says reaching that threshold is "unrealistic." Johnson currently is just below 9 percent in the three of those polls with results available so far.

Johnson became a viral sensation last week when he was stumped on national television by a question about the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. His baffled response — "What is Aleppo?" — ricocheted around the internet.

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