The following is a selected overview of recent case activity in or related to the Taos County court system. All dates and times are subject to change.
Editor's note: A jury trial that had been scheduled for Monday (Oct. 7) for Sgt. Ricky Romero was cancelled after this report was published.
Ricky Romero, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Emilio Chavez
A Taos County Sheriff’s sergeant is set to return to court on Monday (Oct. 7) for a retrial in a perjury, fraud and falsification of documents case originally filed in April 2017.
The defendant, Ricky Romero, first appeared for trial in August 2018, when a jury failed to come to a consensus as to whether he committed 21 felonies, including one count of Medicaid fraud, 10 counts of perjury and 10 counts of falsification of documents.
The white-collar case was prosecuted by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, whose investigators alleged that Romero falsified 10 time sheets submitted between April 2012 and September 2013 to Options Homecare Inc., a Denver-based caretaking company. The state claimed Romero was filing for hours reimbursable by Medicaid, claiming he was caring for his elderly neighbor, while he also being paid for hours worked at the sheriff’s office. Prosecutors argued Romero couldn’t have been doing both at once.
For more on this case, refer to our past coverage online at bit.ly/2uFOpvT.
Rafael Orozco, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Jeff McElroy
A 25-year-old Taos man is set to go to trial on one of three felony cases this month in Taos District Court.
After denying Rafael Orozco a pretrial release last month, Judge Jeff McElroy scheduled the defendant to appear for a two-day trial beginning on Oct. 15. At the trial, a jury will determine whether Orozco struck his wife, newborn baby and a security guard at Holy Cross Medical center in the fall of 2016, setting off a lockdown at the medical center and a manhunt that eventually led to Orozco’s arrest.
Orozco has three prior felony convictions. At last month’s detention hearing, his attorney, Ray Floersheim, told the judge that Orozco “is illegal,” but Floersheim declined to comment further as to his client’s immigration status following the hearing. While court records show that Orozco has a Social Security number assigned in Arizona, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe confirmed that he is an illegal immigrant and said he has been reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement more than once over the past several years.
The 25-year-old’s two other pending cases include two he has picked up since he was incarcerated – one for allegedly beating a fellow detainee and another for allegedly battering a jail guard with his younger brother, Cristian Orozco.
For more on this case, refer to our past coverage online at bit.ly/2mW7mtS.
Requildo Cardenas, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Jeff McElroy
A Taos man charged with attempting to use a vehicle to run down three law enforcement officers who were trying to arrest him on a warrant in August 2017 in Fred Baca Park is scheduled for trial late this month.
On Aug. 28, 2017, Taos Police Officer Luke Martinez assisted Taos probation and parole officers with serving a warrant on Requildo Cardenas, who was in a vehicle at the park with a female passenger. When Cardenas attempted to drive away, Martinez fired through the vehicle’s windshield, missing Cardenas and striking the passenger in the abdomen. She eventuallly recovered and Martinez was cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting. Cardenas surrendered and was taken into custody at the scene, but officers alleged that he drove in a manner that threatened their safety.
Cardenas, who is now 38, will be tried on Oct. 21 on three counts of aggravated assault upon a peace officer with a deadly weapon, one count of aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer and one count of resisting arrest. In 2017, he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly shooting another man through his front door at his residence in Taos in 2012.
For more on this case, refer to our past coverage online at bit.ly/2Lrs23O.
Juan Rodelas-Calzadillas, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Emilio Chavez
A jury will convene at the end of this month to hear a case of a Ranchos de Taos man who was charged in 2017 with injuring an elderly man in a hit-and-run near the Río Grande Gorge Bridge.
On the afternoon of Aug. 5, 2017, Juan Rodelas-Calzadillas allegedly sped through the crowded west end of the steel arch bridge and struck 74-year-old Charles Covington of Texas, amputating the man’s leg. Covington was flown out of the area via a life-flight helicopter after off-duty firefighters put a tourniquet on his leg.
Witnesses at the scene described a male driving a gray Chevy Cavalier, which law enforcement later located at an El Prado residence, where they arrested Rodelas-Calzadillas.
The 25-year-old will be tried on seven counts, including knowingly leaving the scene of an accident resulting in great bodily harm, tampering with evidence, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, no insurance, failure to give notice or render aid and failure to give immediate notice of accidents. An eighth count for failing to have evidence of registration was dismissed after the court determined that the vehicle he was driving was registered at the time of the accident.
For more on this case, refer to our past coverage online at bit.ly/2Jbk3eT.
– Compiled by John Miller
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