Twelfth Judicial District Attorney's Office

Vickie Diamond fought hard for her patients and was a phenomenal nurse and an even better person. Our thoughts and praye...
05/08/2020

Vickie Diamond fought hard for her patients and was a phenomenal nurse and an even better person. Our thoughts and prayers are with her son and her family and friends.

The Otero/Lincoln County SANE Program has once again lost an amazing Nurse and friend. Last night, we said good-bye to Vickie Diamond, and our lives will never quite be the same. Vickie was truly all the words typically used to describe a person, wrapped up into one amazing package. Her positive energy was her hallmark and that energy touched every part of her life. She literally lit up a room, whenever she walked in, making everyone near her feel comfortable and loved. She was a fiercely dedicated ER and Forensic Nurse, often spending hours per week on her regular ER shift, only to spend her “days off” caring for victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. And she wouldn’t have had it any other way. Vickie was passionate about providing the absolute best care possible to victims, always looking for ways to make our program even better. Vickie, along with ER Director Liz Estrada-Klein, made it possible for victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence to receive Medical and Forensic care in their own community at Lincoln County Medical Center, alleviating the need to have to drive for hours to Alamogordo or Roswell to see a SANE Nurse. Though Ruidoso was her “home base” Vickie never hesitated to jump in her car and make the drive to Alamogordo for a SANE exam when needed. Always with an incredible smile. Vickie was truly a one-of-a-kind person, one-of-a-kind Nurse and one-of-a-kind friend. Those of us who were blessed to meet and work with her are forever changed. Rest Easy, until we meet again. You have certainly earned it.

05/04/2020
New Mexico Supreme Court Hears Petition for Inmate Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2020

New Mexico Supreme Court Denies Petition to Release Hundreds of Convicted Felons

Twelfth Judicial District Attorney John P. Sugg announced today that the New Mexico Supreme Court (NMSC) has denied the New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender (LOPD), ACLU, and the New Mexico Criminal Defense Attorneys’ Association’s Petition for Writ of Mandamus and/or Habeas Relief following oral arguments today.

The Petition, purportedly filed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, sought a Court order requiring the State to dramatically reduce New Mexico’s prison population by releasing hundreds of convicted felons early to allow prisons to provide better social distancing. To date, no Correctional Department inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. The Governor, the Corrections Department Secretary and the Director of Adult Probation and Parole were listed as Respondents in the Petition. The New Mexico District Attorneys’ Association (NMDAA) and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas were listed as Real Parties in Interest.

The Petition was filed on April 14, 2020, and the NMSC ordered the Respondents and Real Parties in Interest to file responses no later than April 23, 2020. Writing the response for NMDAA, District Attorney Sugg urged the Court to deny the Petition as it lacked “factual support and legal authority” and that the Court would be violating the doctrine of separation of powers if the Petition was granted.
During oral arguments today, District Attorney Sugg asked the Court to be mindful of the victims who would be impacted by the Court’s decision. After a short deliberation, the Supreme Court announced their unanimous decision to deny the Petition holding that the LOPD had failed to prove the inmates were being held in violation of the 8th Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“I am very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision today,” Sugg said. “It was the correct decision under the law and the facts. While we will undoubtedly continue to receive challenges related to criminals’ confinement conditions as a result of COVID-19, at least for now, the prospect of mass inmate releases from our state prison system is not going to happen. I hope this helps the victims of these inmates feel more at ease.”

KNME broadcast the oral argument live on their YouTube channel. For those interested in watching argument, it can viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJUhsKgBtq0

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The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear arguments related to a petition asking for the early release of more inmates from the state corrections system amid th...

04/23/2020
12th.nmdas.com

Today, on behalf of the New Mexico District Attorneys' Association, I filed a response to the Public Defender's and ACLU's Petition asking the New Mexico Supreme Court to release thousands of inmates from correctional facilities throughout the State.

The Petition lacks factual support and legal authority. We are hopeful now that responses have been filed, the Supreme Court will deny the petition without a hearing. If not, the Supreme Court has set oral arguments for May 4, 2020.

I will continue to fight against people and special interest groups who use COVID-19 as an excuse to advance their personal agendas. COVID-19 poses a real risk to the health of our community, but so do these inmates.

A copy of our response is linked below.

John P. Sugg,
Twelfth Judicial District Attorney

04/17/2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2020

ALBERT “VINCE” FLORES JR. SENTENCED TO 1 YEAR IN JAIL FOR EMBEZZLEMENT FROM THE
ALAMOGORDO TIGER FOOTBALL BOOSTER CLUB

Twelfth Judicial District Attorney John P. Sugg announced today that the Honorable Angie K. Schneider has sentenced Albert “Vincent” Flores Jr., age 45, to serve 364 days in jail and to pay $10,388.60 in restitution to the Alamogordo Tiger Touchdown Club. Flores pled no contest to the sole charge of Embezzlement without a plea agreement two days before trial on September 23, 2019.

In March of 2018, the Otero County Sheriff’s Office was asked to investigate an embezzlement of funds from the Alamogordo High School’s Tiger Football Booster Club. Deputies learned
between August 2017 and February 2018, the Club’s former President, Albert “Vincent” Flores Jr.,was in possession of the organization’s debit card and checkbook, and that he had made various fraudulent transactions for his personal use. The unauthorized transactions consisted of charges for services from Netflix, Redbox, Hulu, Peace Out, Nations Photo Lab, Black River Imaging, as well as various restaurants and Wal-Mart.

Flores was ordered to report to jail to begin serving his sentence on July 15, 2020. When released from jail, Flores will be required to serve 2 years of supervised probation. If Flores fails to pay the court-ordered restitution, he could be ordered to serve the remaining two years in prison.

“The booster club expressed to us that their priority was restitution over prison,” District Attorney John P. Sugg said. “Given his lack of criminal history, we consider this an appropriate sentence under the circumstance, and we plan on holding Mr. Flores accountable if he fails to pay the court-ordered restitution.”

This case was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Brannon Jordan and was investigated by the Otero County Sheriff’s Office.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 27, 2020 Ricardo Seeraj Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Sex Offenses Against a MinorTwelf...
03/27/2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2020

Ricardo Seeraj Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Sex Offenses Against a Minor

Twelfth Judicial District Attorney John P. Sugg announced today that the Honorable Daniel A. Bryant has sentenced Ricardo Seeraj, age 34, to serve the next 40 years in prison. Seeraj pled guilty to 1st Degree Kidnapping and two counts of Criminal Sexual Penetration in the 2nd Degree (Child Age 13-18) at a plea hearing on January 29, 2020.

On November 12, 2016, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Lincoln County Medical Center in reference to a report of a sexual assault on a child under the age of 18. The victim had been taken to the hospital and a sexual assault examination was done.

When deputies arrived, they learned that Seeraj had asked the victim to go to the store so he could get a gift for his wife. When Seeraj began to drive in the opposite direction of the store, the victim questioned him why they weren’t going to the store, and he replied he wanted to go shooting first. The victim had previously shown interest in learning how to shoot a gun.

Seeraj continued to drive to a remote location off of Forest Service Road 588 in Glencoe where he stopped his truck and the two got out and walked a short distance into the forest away from the road. Seeraj began showing the victim how to use the pistol he had brought with him. The victim fired one shot then Seeraj abruptly put the pistol back in his truck. Seeraj then offered the victim cocaine. When the victim refused, he pressured her into trying it and then made her promise not to tell anyone.

The victim agreed not to tell anyone, but Seeraj stated he did not believe her and told the victim that he needed to “see something” to make sure she wouldn’t tell. Seeraj told her to pull down her pants. The victim resisted, but out of fear, she eventually pulled her pants down. Seeraj attempted to touch her and the victim resisted.

The victim repeatedly declined his sexual advances and pleaded with him to stop. Seeraj grabbed the victim by her hair and pulled her further into the wooded area away form the road where he forcefully raped her. The sexual assault nurse examiner documented multiple injuries on the victim consistent with sexual assault.

Seeraj will be required to serve a minimum of 85% of his 40-year prison sentence prior to becoming eligible for parole. When released from prison, Seeraj will be required to serve an indeterminate period of parole of not less than 5 years up to the rest of his life. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.

This case was prosecuted by District Attorney John P. Sugg and was investigated by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 26, 2020 Fermin Omar Moreno-Ortiz Receives 3-Year Maximum Prison Sentence for Criminal Sexual...
03/26/2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2020

Fermin Omar Moreno-Ortiz Receives 3-Year Maximum Prison Sentence for Criminal Sexual Penetration

Twelfth Judicial District Attorney John P. Sugg announced today that the Honorable James Waylon Counts has sentenced Fermin Omar Moreno-Ortiz, age 27, to serve 3 years in prison. Moreno-Ortiz was found guilty of Criminal Sexual Penetration following a two-day jury trial in November 2019.

On April 22, 2016, detectives with the Alamogordo Police Department were called to investigate a sexual assault which had occurred at a house party the previous night. The victim consented to a forensic sexual assault examination by a registered nurse (known as a SANE examination). During the SANE examination, the nurse collected potential DNA evidence, which was later sent to the State Crime Lab.

Detectives made multiple attempts to locate the suspect, Moreno-Ortiz, but were not able to locate him. In the meantime, an analyst with the State lab tested the DNA sample and found the DNA profile of an unknown male.

In February 2018, detectives located Moreno-Ortiz during a routine traffic stop and transported him to the Alamogordo Police Department for questioning about the 2016 sexual assault. Moreno-Ortiz admitted he was aware law enforcement had been attempting to locate him regarding the sexual assault investigation, and admitted that he had fled to Texas and changed the appearance of his vehicle.

Detectives sought and were granted a search warrant for a sample of Moreno-Ortiz’s DNA and sent it to the crime lab fro comparison to the unknown male sample. The lab confirmed the unknown DNA located on the victim belonged to Moreno-Ortiz.

Moreno-Ortiz received the maximum sentence under the law, and he will be required to serve a minimum of 85% of his 3-year prison sentence prior to becoming eligible for parole. When released from prison, Moreno-Ortiz will be required to serve an indeterminate period of parole of not less than 5 years and up to a maximum of 20 years. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

“This case highlights the need for the Legislature to increase the penalties for criminal sexual penetration,” District Attorney John P. Sugg said. “Three years is not enough time in prison for what Moreno-Ortiz did to this victim. She showed amazing courage testifying and facing the man that assaulted her. We are hopeful that this verdict and sentence helps bring some closure to her.”

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney RoxeAnne Esquibel and was investigated by the Alamogordo Police Department.

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03/24/2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 24, 2020

Government’s response to COVID-19 will have unintended consequences

People are scared. And for good reason. COVID-19 is a real threat to the health and well-being of our community. And while I certainly understand the rationale for most of the government’s responses to the threat, and I am in no way questioning the motives of our government leaders who have made those decisions, we must face the reality that those decisions are going to have many unintended consequences.

Indeed, our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is creating another real threat to the health and well-being of our community, and that threat is largely being ignored. I’m not talking about the damage being done to the world economy. The hundreds of thousands of recently unemployed Americans know far more about the impact COVID-19 is having on our economy than I do. I am one of the lucky government employees who is still able to go to work and receive a paycheck during these difficult times. But based on the decisions being made by some of our government leaders, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do my job and earn that paycheck.

In response to the COVID-19 health emergency, state and local law enforcement and court authorities are placing unnecessary restrictions on their employees.

State agencies like Adult Probation and Parole have closed their buildings to the public. Probation officers are no longer permitted to have any in-person contact with the probationers they are responsible for supervising. Without in-person contact, there is no way to administer drug testing or ensure compliance with many conditions of probation. Officers are also not permitted to make home visits to ensure probationers, including sex offenders, are living where they are required to live. Further, probation officers are being directed to not appear in court even if they receive a subpoena from the prosecution. That means people charged with violating probation will soon be released from jail based on the prosecution’s inability to go forward without necessary witnesses.

Likewise, the Court’s pre-trial services division is limiting in-person contact with those persons released from jail while they await trial. This has limited their capability to supervise and drug test those released from jail under the 2016 Bail Reform system.

Speaking of releasing people from jail, judges across the State are releasing inmates due to the concern of a potential COVID-19 outbreak in our jails and prisons. While the threat is real, and an outbreak could have devastating consequences, many of those releases were done sua sponte, on the court’s own motion, without notice or opportunity for the prosecution to voice objections.

Additionally, many police and sheriff offices are limiting officer responses to call for “emergencies” only. Some departments are going as far as not permitting officers to respond to felony calls for burglaries and other “non-emergency” felony crimes.

What could possibly go wrong when we release additional criminals onto the streets, with little to no supervision, in a community where police won’t respond to anything that does not pose an immediate danger? In a time when we are continuing to let teenagers go to work in fast food restaurants, it certainly isn’t too much to ask our employees in the criminal justice system to keep showing up to work and for them to keep doing their jobs.

During these trying times, the people of this State must know that those in the criminal justice system are doing everything possible to keep them safe from threats by the criminal element. People have enough to worry about after losing their livelihood and freedom due to COVID-19.

And we, as a criminal justice system, must also continue to protect the constitutional rights of those accused of committing crimes. That is why I have supported the courts’ decision to remain open. However, under pressure from the New Mexico District Attorneys’ Association, of which I am a member, and the Law Office of Public Defender, the Supreme Court has vacated all criminal jury trials scheduled to commence on or before April 30, 2020. Additional hearings continue to be vacated adding legitimacy to defense attorneys’ motion for immediate release of their clients. Jury trials, preliminary hearings, and detention hearings should resume even if other non-essential hearings are vacated. Steps can be, and have been, taken to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the courthouses while these constitutionally guaranteed rights are protected.

As I write this, there have been 83 people, roughly .004% of the State’s population, who have tested positive for COVID-19 in New Mexico, and thankfully zero deaths. That number will almost certainly grow exponentially in the coming weeks and the government is wise to take action to limit its spread. But the government also has a responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect the community from the criminal element - something New Mexico has struggled to do even in the best of times. If we don’t, whatever losses of life we avoid by taking decisive action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 may be undermined by the losses we realize by allowing crime to go unchecked.

Our victim advocates will continue to provide updates to victims regarding the status of their cases. You can visit https://www.vinelink.com/#/home to find out the custody status of your offender. For victims needing further assistance please contact our office at (575) 437-3640 and ask to speak to a victim advocate.

John P. Sugg, District Attorney

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Address

1000 New York Ave Rm 101
Alamogordo, NM
88310

Opening Hours

Monday 13:00 - 17:00
Monday 08:00 - 12:00
Tuesday 13:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 12:00
Wednesday 13:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 12:00
Thursday 13:00 - 17:00
Thursday 08:00 - 12:00
Friday 13:00 - 17:00
Friday 08:00 - 12:00

Telephone

(575) 437-3640

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