Taos DA Gallegos and CEO Reyes: Good People!
At a recent forum, retired Judge Joe Caldwell asked District Attorney (DA) candidates to summarize proposed policy for the office. Nothing memorable from either incumbent DA Donald Gallegos or challenger Sarah Montoya was said. DA Gallegos, however, talked about “pre-prosecution and conditional discharge” policies, aimed at businessmen, who had made mistakes and shouldn’t experience career setbacks.
Readers will remember that DA Donald Gallegos’ policy can be summarized in his oft-used term, “La Buena Gente,” or “the good people” principle. In open court, newspaper columns, and among employees, the DA has used the term “good people” as a way of underscoring decisions to prosecute or argue for easier conditions of release.
Whether seeking justice on behalf of homicide victims or while being targeted by six-year vendettas for minor incidents, many Taosenos have referred to the DA’s double standard with a touch of gallows humor. “When we Taosenos don’t get justice, we admit that we are not `good people.’”
Whether the DA is prosecuting (?) CEO Luis Reyes (see below) or the Red River Rapist, who was indicted by the grand jury, due to Marshall Jerry Hogrefe’s fine investigation (Now the Town of Taos interim police chief), politics is never far from the DA’s mind. The rape charge was immediately dropped because, according to reports, Gallegos’ legislative bill affecting pensions for career prosecutors was threatened. The alleged rapist’s defense attorney was a leader at the state legislature and Gallegos was then the president of the DA’s statewide association.
The DA lost the election in Taos County in 2008 because voters rejected the “good people” policy of a DA, who is seen as favoring homies in Questa who kill people over homicide victims from out of state or the Taos Valley itself. He won the 2008 election in the 8th judicial district because voters on the east side of the mountains were unaware of his dual standard of justice. (Examples will follow during the next few weeks about the DA’s record of prosecutorial injustice.)
Meanwhile, the powerful and prominent, like KCEC CEO Luis Reyes are considered “good people.” Reyes resisted arrest, threatened cops with their jobs, and attacked the Town’s combined police headquarters and the E911 Center in an attempt to bust a family member out of the Town’s jail, who was arrested for DWI on the way home from the DMC Broadcast Mother’s Day event on May 11, 2003. According to police reports, Reyes was charged with “Battery on Peace Officer,” “Assault on Peace Officer,” and “Disorderly Conduct.”
Ultimately, Reyes pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of “Resisting, evading, or obstructing an officer” and “disorderly conduct,” according to a March 4, 2004 magistrate court filing. He was fined a total of $82. On June 21, 2004, the Springer magistrate Fred C. Caldwell filed a final order: “This court having previously found the defendant guilty and having deferred sentencing of the defendant on the following charges: Resisting or Evading an Officer and Disorderly Conduct. It now appears to the court that the defendant has fulfilled of the terms and conditions of the deferred sentence. It is therefore ordered that the criminal charges set forth above be and the same are herby dismissed.”
Attorney John Paternoster (now a Judge) represented Reyes and Deputy DA Daniel Romero represented the DA at the hearing on misdemeanor charges.
Five different police and witness reports describe Mr. Reyes as a rather violent young man. Reyes refers to a cop as “a little punk off the street.” Officers say Reyes, while using foul language, blocked the door, repeatedly activated the intercom, and threatened “officer safety.”
One policeman writes that “Mr. Reyes stated to me that he was going to assault me when I was off duty and then he would get even with me or he would have me discharged from my job and stated he was best friends with all the judges so he would get me one way or another…. The man [Reyes] again punched the intercom and I told him to leave and come back later then he grabbed me by the throat and began to squeeze (Bold added)…Mr. Reyes kept calling me a rent-a-cop.”
Both Mr. Reyes and officers—all Hispanic–suffered bruises. Mr. Reyes’ family member, arrested for DUI, refused to take a blood and breath alcohol test. The two parties were released immediately upon entering the county detention center by a local magistrate judge.
Subsequently, Reyes approached the Town’s E911 employees about the Command Center concept but they were understandably reluctant to join forces with the fella, who attacked their E911 facility like a mad dog. Ever since that fateful Mother’s Day in 2003, Reyes has been pushing the concept of the Command Center. It’s a symbol of both his attempt to rehabilitate a tarnished image and the vendetta pursued against the Town cops and E911 personnel.
Contrary to Mr. Reyes claim in May 3rd issue of The Taos News (“Interveners lost all credibility”) that opponents of the Coop “share Mr. Adang’s bias against our Northern New Mexico institutions,” the local members, like Mr. Adang, dispute Mr. Reyes and the trustee’s irresponsible fiscal management. Mr. Reyes’ racist innuendo in the column sounds like a demagogue’s attempt to defend the so-called “good people” from criticism.
Just as members of the Coop disagree with Reyes so the voters disagree with the DA’s double standard of justice that protects the “good people”—like Reyes. Beat up and threaten the cops?…Que pasa, cuate?
Recently, an activist contacted Reyes’ about alleged late payments for electricity by DMC Broadcasting, Mayor Cordova’s radio station. According to the activist, Reyes called back but neither confirmed nor denied preferential treatment for DMC. Rather he wanted to know who “said” that? Employees and KCEC trustees have repeatedly told this commentator and other members in the community that DMC charges are put on the back burner. The Coop should issue copies of DMC’s billing history and end the rumors.