Ex-police chief Montijo drops suit against Bernalillo
The last vestige of Ramon “Mojo” Montijo's tumultuous
tenure as Bernalillo police chief faded away in December, when he
dropped his federal lawsuit against the town.
“Win, lose, or draw, it's not going to change the political
structure in Bernalillo,” Montijo told the Signpost. “We'll
just get on with our lives.”
Hired in April 2003, Montijo ignited a firestorm with an audit
of department property and the evidence vault which revealed shoddy
recordkeeping and missing weapons. He also reopened a burglary case
in which a town officer had been named as a suspect.
Outside investigations confirmed some of the problems but did
not result in any prosecutions.
In the meantime, Montijo's relationship with town leaders soured,
and he was suspended twice before being fired in October 2003. Last
February he sued the town, the mayor and several administrators,
alleging violation of labor laws and his rights.
“We were bound and determined not to settle for anything,”
town administrator Lester Swindle said. “I think they finally
got the news we weren't going to capitulate and that he didn't have
anything on us.”
Montijo has since become the program director for criminal justice
and fire science at the Doña Ana Branch Community College
in Las Cruces.
Adult Drug Court comes to Sandoval County
District Judges Louis P. McDonald and George P. Eichwald have
recently implemented an Adult Drug Court for Sandoval County. The
pilot program began accepting adults involved in the criminal-justice
system this summer.
Adult Drug Court requires a one-year commitment from its participants.
Successful completion of the program means criminal charges may
be dismissed or a participant may receive early discharge from probation,
or both. The program strongly emphasizes frequent drug testing and
therapeutic treatment, not only for substance abuse but also in
other aspects of each participant's life. During their time in drug
court, participants must remain drug-free, have a job, or go to
school. Participants who are not in jobs or school are required
to perform volunteer work. Participants must also attend the weekly
drug court and submit to at least two random drug tests each week
when in the first phase of the program.
The Adult Drug Court has four structured phases each participant
must successfully complete before graduation from the program. There
is also an aftercare component for graduates of the drug court.
Those who do not comply with the requirements of the program are
firmly and swiftly sanctioned. For example, participants who miss
an individual therapy session may be ordered to perform community
service. Any positive drug test results in immediate jail time.
The director of Adult Drug Court is Chris Weaver, who has worked
as an adult probation officer for twenty-five years. In 1987, Weaver
came to work in the Sandoval County Adult Probation Office, spending
his last eight years in that office as supervisor.
Under the current staffing and budget of the program, Weaver can
accept up to twelve participants at one time. He says that the mission
of the Adult Drug Court is straightforward: to make communities
safer by reducing substance abuse and the number of repeat offenders
by providing an array of services from a wide range of community
District court expands alternative dispute-resolution
Chief Judge Louis P. McDonald of the Thirteenth Judicial District
Court is pleased to report the expansion of the court's alternative
The Thirteenth Judicial District Court provides both mediation
and settlement facilitation as ADR options to traditional litigation
throughout the Thirteenth Judicial District in Cibola, Valencia,
and Sandoval Counties. Both mediation and settlement facilitation
are ADR processes in which a neutral third party meets with the
parties involved in the cases to identify areas of agreement and
disagreement and to assist them in reaching a resolution that meets
their needs and interests. The programs currently include Magistrate
Court, Children's Court (Abuse and Neglect), Domestic Relations,
and Civil ADR.
With the coordination of the director of ADR Programs, Teresa
Berry, the district court recently expanded small-claims mediation
to all the magistrate courts in Cibola, Valencia and Sandoval Counties.
The court also recently approved a program to provide ADR services
to all other civil cases at District Court.
The Thirteenth Judicial District Magistrate Court Mediation Program
is a program in which volunteers work within the court system to
help people resolve their small claims cases through mediation.
This program provides a great opportunity to become more involved
with your local magistrate courts. For more information about the
program and to learn about how to become a magistrate court mediator,
contact Marianela Gish, program coordinator and mediator mentor,
The recently introduced Civil ADR program may apply to all civil
lawsuits by request of the parties or the court. The panel of “neutrals”
will include attorneys and other ADR professionals with specific
subject area knowledge. Fees for mediators in civil cases in which
damages sought do not exceed $10,000 may be paid by the court.
For more information about the ADR programs in the Thirteenth
Judicial District, please contact Teresa Berry, at 235-3525 or email@example.com.