The Docket

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The following is a selected overview of case activity in or related to the Taos County court system. All dates and times are subject to change.

Trials

May 14

Jamie John Collins, jury trial - Taos district court, Courtroom A, Judge Sarah Backus

Collins, a 43-year-old man from Minnesota, is scheduled for trial on vehicle theft and other charges stemming from a May 18, 2016 incident.

A grand jury indicted Collins in September 2016 on one count each of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle; possession of methamphetamine; driving under the influence; possession of drug paraphernalia; aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer; resisting, evading or obstructing an officer; and reckless driving.

According to court records, Collins failed to appear for an arraignment in October 2016 and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. The defendant was picked up on a warrant in November 2017 and will reappear for trial May 14.

May 15

John Rael, jury trial - Taos district court, Courtroom B, Judge Jeff McElroy

Rael, 59, of Questa is set to appear for trial in a child rape case filed in 2016.

A grand jury indicted Rael in December 2016 on two counts of criminal sexual penetration in the first degree against a minor, resulting in great bodily harm or great mental anguish to his alleged victim, according to court records.

The grand jury also indicted Rael on three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the third-degree; two counts of bribing a witness in exchange for false testimony and one count of false imprisonment of another witness.

Other events

April 13

Gilbert Atencio, court reassignment - Taos magistrate court

A perjury case filed against Atencio, a sergeant with the Taos County Sheriff's Office, has been transferred from the 8th Judicial District to the 11th Judicial District in Farmington.

Taos magistrate court judges Ernest Ortega and Jeff Shannon both filed notices of recusal in April. Atencio has appeared in their courtrooms multiple times in his capacity as a member of law enforcement.

This year, the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau charged Atencio of the Taos County Sheriff's Office with one count of perjury for allegedly lying about the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a former Taos Pueblo tribal police officer.

The investigation stemmed from a Sept. 2 traffic stop on State Road 68 in Taos County, where Atencio arrested the former tribal police officer for allegedly refusing to take a breathalyzer test. Through their investigation, state police determined Atencio's allegation to have been false, and charges that had been filed against the former Pueblo officer were dropped late last year.

Atencio was released on his own recognizance at the end of last month.

For more on this case, refer to past Taos News coverage online at bit.ly/2q6z0C6.

April 26

Celso Cornelio-Molina, case dismissal - Taos magistrate court, Courtroom B, Judge Ernest Ortega

Cornelio-Molina, 37, was among four defendants who allegedly burglarized a cabin near Questa in February by carving a hole in a wall using a chainsaw.

In April, the 8th Judicial District Attorney's Office threw out the case, but stated in a notice of dismissal that charges may be refiled at a later date pending further investigation.

For more on this case, refer to past coverage online at bit.ly/2Ic4ylf.

May 3

Adam Casados, preliminary examination - Taos magistrate court, Courtroom B, Judge Ernest Ortega

Casados, 28, one of five defendants picked up during a New Mexico State Police drug bust in Peñasco, is set to appear for a preliminary hearing on drug charges this month.

In March, state police executed search warrants at residences in Peñasco, Dixon and Cordova. They arrested five alleged drug traffickers and users, including Casados, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

For more on this case, refer to our past coverage online at bit.ly/2JMCvWm.

Steven Hatley, preliminary examination - Taos magistrate court, Courtroom B, Judge Ernest Ortega

Hatley, 41, is among four defendants who allegedly burglarized a cabin near Questa in February by carving a hole in a wall using a chainsaw.

He will appear for a preliminary examination in magistrate court this month on charges that include residential burglary, breaking and entering and other charges.

For more on this case, refer to past coverage online at bit.ly/2Ic4ylf.

May 9

Danielle Rodriguez, preliminary hearing - Taos magistrate court, Courtroom B, Judge Ernest Ortega

Rodriguez, 28, one of five defendants picked up during a New Mexico State Police drug bust in Peñasco, is set to appear for a preliminary hearing on drug charges this month.

She was charged with two counts of trafficking controlled substances and possession of marijuana.

For more on this case, refer to past coverage online at bit.ly/2JMCvWm.

Jeremy Cozart, preliminary examination - Taos magistrate court, Courtroom A, Judge Jeff Shannon

Cozart, a 42-year-old Tres Piedras man, will appear this month for a preliminary examination that was originally scheduled for April.

He was charged with one count of nonresidential burglary related to the Feb. 18 burglary of the Taos Municipal Landfill in El Prado. During the examination, the state is expected to present probable cause related to the case, and possibly three other commercial burglaries, in which Cozart is also a suspect.

The other burglaries took place at Sagebrush Storage, Boot Doctors and Heads Up Music. In February, Taos Police Chief David Trujillo said responding officers would be return to each business to collect additional evidence, which may surface during the examination this month.

For more on this case, refer to past coverage online at bit.ly/2t0s5Po.

Viola Quintana, preliminary examination - Taos magistrate court, Courtroom A, Judge Jeff Shannon

Quintana, 73, one of five defendants picked up during a New Mexico State Police drug bust in Peñasco, is set to appear for a preliminary hearing on drug charges this month.

She faces one charge of trafficking controlled substances.

For more on this case, refer to past coverage online at bit.ly/2JMCvWm.

May 17

Eduardo Rivera, preliminary examination - Taos magistrate court, Courtroom B, Judge Ernest Ortega

Rivera, 29, was arrested on several outstanding Taos County warrants in April and will appear for a preliminary examination on charges this month.

Taos County Sheriff's deputies arrested Rivera outside the south side Allsup's gas station in Taos following a brief foot pursuit when Rivera allegedly fled.

This month, Rivera will appear on charges that include possession of a firearm by a felon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, breaking and entering, violating a domestic violence restraining order and criminal damage to property under $100.

Rivera's other outstanding cases in Taos County have either been closed or are pending the resolution of his current case.

For more on this case, refer to past coverage online at bit.ly/2JI9evW.

– Compiled by John Miller

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