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Catch and Release: The Saga of Judge Raphaelson, Aaron Nguyen, and Public Safety

on February 22, 2014 - 10:01am
Column by KHAL SPENCER
Los Alamos

Somewhat incomprehensibly, District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson has once again given convicted burglar Aaron Nguyen a get out of jail free pass. This is in spite of her telling him at his initial sentencing hearing, on multiple felonies, that if he violated any of the terms of his probation, he would go to jail for the full term of his sentence.

Mr. Nguyen promptly violated those terms and it would seem he called Her Honor's bluff. Indeed, Judge Raphaelson is now saying "A prison sentence for a 100-pound, 19-year-old boy is grossly inappropriate ... I do

Victims Question Whether Judge Qualified to Render Sentence on Serial Burglar

on February 20, 2014 - 11:02pm
District Judge Sheri A. Raphaelson rendered no jail time for convicted serial burglar Aaron Nguyen despite his probation violation, which has his victims questioning her ability to try the case. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Aaron Nguyen, 19, of Los Alamos briefly apologizes to victims in the courtroom Wednesday before turning to the judge to tell her that his mental health is now a top priority. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Defendant Aaron Nguyen, 19, sits with his mother and father before his sentencing hearing begins in District Court. Nguyen's father, leaning

Judge's Sentence for Los Alamos Serial Burglar Has Victims Reeling

on February 19, 2014 - 1:41pm
Attorney Steve Aarons with convicted serial burglar Aaron Nguyen, 19, of Los Alamos who hangs his head as witnesses speak out at his sentencing hearing this morning in District Court at the Justice Center. The judge continued his five-year probation and treatment but ordered no jail time, which had victims lashing out in frustration. Check back at ladailypost.com later for the full report. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Attorney Steve Aarons begins to lay out a case for his client's November probation violation, saying he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Los Alamos Municipal Judge Alan Kirk Seeks Fifth Term

on February 6, 2014 - 3:25pm

Judge Alan Kirk. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

Judge Alan S. Kirk told the Los Alamos Daily Post this morning that he will seek a fifth term as Municipal Judge of Los Alamos County.

"I want to continue providing services to the community through the professional staff of the court that we have developed," Kirk said. "This includes community service programs, probation programs and our extremely successful teen court program."

Kirk moved to Los Alamos in 1958 and graduated from Los Alamos High School and Eastern New Mexico University.

Cease and Desist Order Issued Against Los Alamos Man

on February 6, 2014 - 11:52am
Jerry Beery at a Los Alamos County Council meeting last year. File photo
 
Staff Report

The State issued an order Tuesday to stop a Los Alamos resident from selling unauthorized securities to senior citizens and retirees in an illegal scheme.

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department’s Securities Division issued the cease and desist order against Jerome Griggs Beery who sold securities totaling more than $200,000 to mostly retirees and senior citizens in Los Alamos, in violation of state law.

Beery, 79, who is not a state-licensed investment broker, has been ordered to cease

Los Alamos County Administrator Issues Statement on Police Lawsuit

on January 17, 2014 - 9:00am

Harry Burgess

COUNTY News:

Los Alamos County Administrator Harry Burgess issued the following statement today with regard to Wednesday's filing of a lawsuit against the County by two former Los Alamos police commanders and a detective:

"Late Wednesday afternoon we were notified by media that the law office of George Geran chose to release to them a lawsuit supposedly filed against the County by three current/former LAPD officers.  

"As of yesterday afternoon, the lawsuit had still not been served on Los Alamos County.

Breaking News: Police Officers Sue Los Alamos County

on January 15, 2014 - 4:01pm

UPDATE: The Los Alamos Daily Post just received the following comment from Los Alamos County: The County has not received the lawsuit from the office of George Geran, and as such, has not had the opportunity to review it.

Former Commander Randy Foster

Staff Report

Two former commanders of the Los Alamos Police Department and one current detective filed a lawsuit today against Los Alamos County, alleging wrongful discharge, retaliation and gender discrimination.

The Complaint seeks redress for harms the County inflicted upon the three, former Commander Randy Foster, former Commander Scott

Los Alamos News Highlights For 2013

on December 31, 2013 - 11:04am

Los Alamos County Council Chair Geoff Rodgers and Councilors dedicate the new building as community members look on. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Municipal Building Dedication: Community members turned out as former and current County officials cut the ribbon on the new Los Alamos County Municipal Building June 28 at 1000 Central Ave. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com http://www.ladailypost.com/content/ribbons-cut-los-alamos-municipal-building http://www.ladailypost.com/content/community-invited-municipal-building-grand-opening-and-tours-june-28

Los Alamos National

FBI: John Charles McCluskey to Receive Life in Prison for Murdering Oklahoma Couple

on December 12, 2013 - 10:58am
Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee
FBI Albuquerque Division

FBI News:

WASHINGTON—John Charles McCluskey, 48, will receive a life prison sentence for a host of crimes arising from the carjacking and murder of a couple from Tecumseh, Oklahoma, after a federal jury today announced that it could not reach a unanimous decision on whether to impose the death penalty.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough of the District of New Mexico, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O.

Attorneys Respond to Los Alamos County's Settlement With Detective

on December 11, 2013 - 8:12pm
Det. Brian Schamber
 
Staff Report
 
Following this afternoon's announcement that Los Alamos County and Los Alamos Police Det. Brian Schamber had reached a settlement agreement, comments were issued from Schamber's attorney and an attorney representing three additional police officers with pending litigation against the County.
 
Comments from Schamber's attorney John W. Day of Egolf + Ferlic + Day, LLC in Santa Fe:
 
"Los Alamos County has agreed to pay upwards of $600,000 to settle Brian Schamber's claims.

Los Alamos County Settles Detective Suit at $600,000

on December 11, 2013 - 4:37pm

COUNTY News:

Los Alamos County and Los Alamos Police Department employee (Det.) Brian Schamber reached a settlement agreement Dec. 10.

Schamber had been evaluated by the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas, N.M. in December 2012 before being released and cleared for active duty as a police officer by a psychiatrist. Following his release, Schamber had continued to be employed by the County but working from home after stating that, because he had been evaluated at a mental health institution, he was now prohibited by federal law from carrying a firearm.

Los Alamos County

LANL Employees File Complaint Against Former Supervisor

on December 4, 2013 - 5:39pm

Tony Stanford

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

Attorney John Day filed a complaint in First District Court in Santa Fe this afternoon against Los Alamos National Security, LLC, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Anthony "Tony" R. Stanford for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring, supervision and retention.

Day, of EGOLF, FERLIC & DAY, LLC, filed the complaint on behalf of his clients Erika and William Gorman of Los Alamos who worked for Stanford at LANL.

Attorney John Day

"This was a horrifying situation, Erika was assaulted by her high

Los Alamos Police Commander Faces Poaching Charges; Jailer Faces Battery with Deadly Weapon

on December 3, 2013 - 10:21am

Los Alamos Police Commander Preston Ballew

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

A citation was filed Nov. 22 in Alamogordo Magistrate Court against Los Alamos Police Commander Preston Ballew.

Ballew, 36, was charged with two counts of unlawful hunting or fishing (killing elk) and one count of vehicle travel under habitat protection act (trespassing.) Ofc. Jason Kline issued Ballew the citation Oct. 7.

Ballew is commander of the Los Alamos Bomb Squad. The Alamogordo Magistrate Court clerk said this morning that an arraignment for Ballew is scheduled for Dec. 10 in Alamogordo.

In a

Aaron Nguyen's Victims Share Statement

on November 29, 2013 - 8:49am
Aaron Nguyen
 
By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

Convicted burglar Aaron Nguyen admitted to breaking into six homes in Los Alamos and taking everything from jewelry and electronics to guns and alcohol. At his July 24 sentencing hearing, Nguyen pled guilty to all 16 counts filed against him. Several victims testified at the hearing, urging District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson to render a stiffer sentence against the 18-year-old.

Dr. John Michael Pedicini and his wife Georgia were victims of Nguyen's crime spree, which spanned several months.

Help With The Hard Stuff: Managing Student Loans Part 3

on October 3, 2013 - 12:06pm

Help With the Hard Stuff:

Managing Student Loans

Part 3 (of 5) “Work-out and Default Options between Federal and Private Loans Are Critically Important”
By Gini Nelson, JD, MA

I emphasized in my last column the importance of understanding the different legal options federal lenders and private lenders have in responding to a student loan borrower’s inability to pay. Simply put:

WORK OUT OPTIONS – Private lenders and their servicers are not required to offer forbearances or deferments.

Battle Over Teacher Evaluations Heads To Court

on October 1, 2013 - 9:07am
Los Alamos Federation of School Employees (LAFSE) President Ellen Mills briefed teachers Sept. 25 on the statewide teachers union plans to battle new teacher evaluation system. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com
 
New Mexico President Stephanie Ly of the American Federation of Teachers addressed Los Alamos teachers at a Sept. 25 meeting. Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com
 
By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post

Things are heating up in the battle between teachers unions and New Mexico Secretary of Education-Designate Hanna Skandera.

Ex-Enron Executive Indicted on Bankruptcy Charges

on October 1, 2013 - 7:20am

FBI News:

HOUSTON—A federal grand jury has returned a 24-count indictment against Jeffrey Adam Shankman with bankruptcy fraud and concealment of assets, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

The indictment was returned today. Shankman is expected to turn himself in to federal authorities and make an initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge in the near future.

According to the indictment, Shankman engaged in a scheme to conceal assets to defraud creditors and the trustee who was appointed to collect and dispose of all Shankman’s assets in his bankruptcy estate.

A

Los Alamos Magistrate Judge Pat Casados Will Seek 4th Term

on September 27, 2013 - 9:56am

Los Alamos Magistrate Judge Pat Casados in her courtroom at the Justice Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

 

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos Magistrate Judge Pat Casados told the Los Alamos Daily Post late Thursday that she has decided to seek re-election to a 4th four-year term.

The election for Los Alamos Magistrate Judge is November 2014 but candidates must file in March.

"After attending the recent judges conference, I came back with renewed enthusiasm ... I've made a lot of progress and I want to see the projects I've started be completed," Casados

Former Los Alamos Urologist Ordered to Leave Town Moves to Nambe Area

on September 27, 2013 - 8:16am

Pavel Mourachov

Staff Report

Former Los Alamos Urologist Pavel Mourachov reached a plea deal last June and was ordered by the court to leave town.

Magistrate Judge Pat Casados said Thursday that Mourachov has moved to the Nambe area, remains on probation and continues to wear an electronic monitoring device. 

Mourachov, 44, was arrested in May and charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a household member with a deadly weapon, harassment and extreme cruelty to animals. He was released six days later, at which time Casados ordered him to wear a monitoring bracelet.

Woman on the Lam Has Surfaced

on September 27, 2013 - 7:27am

Irene Quintana

Staff Report

The woman who has been on the lam for more than a week turned herself in Thursday.

"She walked up to our window (inside the Justice Center) and police officers were here to arrest her," Magistrate Judge Pat Casados said. "She had her first appearance in court and was released on a $5,000 bond pending a pre-trial."

Los Alamos Police Detectives had been searching for Quintana, 49, of Chamita since Sept. 17. 

She was wanted on a warrant with two felony charges for distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy. Quintana is suspected of attempting to send

Help With The Hard Stuff: Managing Student Loans Part 2

on September 12, 2013 - 11:50am

Help With The Hard Stuff: Managing Student Loans

Part 2 (of 5) What are the Kinds of Loans Students (and their Co-Signers) Can Get?

By Gini Nelson, JD, MA

I referred in my last column to “the new normal” – how much more difficult life is coming to be for many because of the massive changes to the global and our own economy, and more but I think calling it “the new reality” is more accurate.

Public Invited to Reception for Judge Sylvia LaMar

on September 9, 2013 - 7:05am

BREAKING NEWS: Judge Denies LA County Clerk Request for a Stay

on September 4, 2013 - 11:21am

Judge orders Los Alamos County Clerk to issue same sex marriage licenses. County Clerk Sharon Stover will abide by the Judge’s order. Couple is on way to Municipal Building to get license now. Check back with the Los Alamos Daily Post for more details.

Attorney for Same Sex Couple Responds to Los Alamos County Clerk's Statement

on September 3, 2013 - 4:39pm

Attorney John Day

Staff Report

Attorney John Day of Egolf + Ferlic + Day law firm in Santa Fe issued the following response moments ago on behalf of his clients Janet Newton and Maria Thibodeau to the statement issued today by Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover regarding her position on the issuance of same sex marriage licenses.

Stover denied Newton and Thibodeau a marriage license late last month and the couple hired Day to represent them in court action against her.

"We filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in District Court requesting that Judge Sheri Raphaelson order the Los Alamos

Statement from Los Alamos County Clerk

on August 30, 2013 - 3:41pm

Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover

COUNTY News:

The following statement was issued to the media today from Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover:

“Late this morning, Los Alamos County received a complete package of documentation regarding a recent lawsuit filed against Los Alamos County and related order from First Judicial District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson for the Clerk’s office to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Judge Rafaelson’s order stated that I should begin issuing the licenses or appear before her in court on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 10 a.m.

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