Justice and Media Aqui en Taos: Clothes Hanger Rescinds Decision, DA Misses Deadline, Georgia Drops Extradition, Defendants Still in Jail

By: Bill Whaley
24 August, 2018

Truly the local media, which sensationalized the “Amalia Bust,” along with Taos County’s Red River Sheriff, and the usually incompetent DA, and along with my old friend Judge Ernie “The Clothes Hanger” Ortega have all joined in on creating a Cluster F**K Aqui En Taos. Meanwhile, the tabloid audience, Fox News, NRA and local yokels in the Taos County, who attacked and threated Judge Backus owe her Ladyship an apology.

Yesterday, according to an Albuquerque Journal North story (8.23.2018, 1:42), “lawyers say that prosecutors missed a 10-day deadline to hold preliminary hearings for the incarcerated defendants to determine if there is sufficient `probable cause’ to proceed to trial, and that the child abuse charges therefore should be dismissed against Lucas Morton, 40, Subhanah Wahhaj, 35, and Hujrah Wahhaj, 37.


Further, the Journal story says, “Officials said Thursday that Georgia is no longer seeking extradition of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj. That means he now faces the same conditions of release as Morton, Subhanah Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj. They can get out of jail if they have places to stay – under a controversial decision by District Court Judge Sarah Backus last week – but all of the defendants have remained in custody, because they can’t find local accommodations.”


As well, on Thursday, Judge “Ernie “The Clothes Hanger” Ortega, “continues the Journal, “rescinded $5,000 cash-only bonds for Morton and Subhanah Wahhaj that had been imposed for criminal trespassing citations “ and “changed the bond to a $5,000 unsecured appearance bond, meaning the two defendants have to pay only if they are found to have violated any conditions of release.”


The Journal says, “Mitsunaga and Morton’s attorney, Aleksander Kostich, argued that for a judge to set bail on a trespassing charge, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office had to file a sworn affidavit that includes probable cause. Instead, the citations were issued on traffic tickets, but with “Non-Traffic” written on top by hand.“You can’t arrest someone on a criminal charge with a traffic citation,” Attorney Kostich said in court. “This is absolutely insufficient and fatally flawed under the law of New Mexico.” Ortega changed the bond to a $5,000 unsecured appearance bond, meaning the two defendants have to pay only if they are found to have violated any conditions of release.”


Those of you who question my sobriquet (nickname) for Ernie might consider the following: That morning the Judge hung his robes on his frame and then hung a frame on two defendants in order to please TCSO’s Red River cracker box sheriff, whose epithets about “extremists,” “black Muslims,” prompted rightwing scuttlebutt and attacks on Judge Backus by adherents of Trumpism: the progressive longtime democrat whom I have known since he was a kid in high school embarrassed himself.


I would caution readers, especially those recently exposed to judicial wrangling and lassos gone astray about “Mitote” in The Taos News. Remember the disappeared stories about the Ma Barker Gang’s $200,000 robbery at the KCEC? Or the “Plumbers Mansion” bust and the fifty mug shots that filled up the front page of The Taos News? Where are the disappeared miscreants today? Working at Holy Cross Hospital?


In an editorial the local claimed: “Our reporters let readers know what is really happening in government.“ But they don’t, whether it’s the omission of the Magistrate Judge’s name in the above story or while reading and misinterpreting their own “Amalia Bust” stories before jumping on the “cracker box” and slurring Judge Backus, whom they called “Wrong” despite being so obviously right in the justice sense.


(Let’s not talk about the scandalous KCEC gang, who extract extra pennies per hour from you everytime you touch the light switch, currently ignored by The Taos News so they won’t lose advertising dollars. They printed an opinion piece by a KCEC Trustee, Bob Bresnahan, in praise of the Hospital but did not print a disclaimer saying that his wife worked for HCH under “special circumstances. The Good old boys and gals keep it to themselves…eh Stacy? )

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