With about a week to go before he forfeits his seat because he hasn’t been sworn in, Sunland Park Mayor-elect Daniel Salinas is asking the N.M. Supreme Court for help.
From the Las Cruces Sun-News:
“Specifically, Salinas is asking that the state’s high court direct the 3rd Judicial District Court to revise his conditions of release in a limited way, in order for Salinas to be sworn in by the municipal clerk, Spencer said.
“During Salinas’ arraignment on the extortion counts earlier this week, state District Judge Jacinto Palomino declined a request to ease the restrictions, which were set previously by another district court judge.
“That violates Salinas’ constitutional rights and amounts to the court indirectly interfering with an election, (Salinas’ attorney, Joshua) Spencer alleged.”
Salinas can’t currently have contact with any city employee or official or step foot in city hall.
The mayor-elect was most recently arrested, along with the former interim police chief, on bribery charges based on an alleged deal that gave Luis Monarez the police job. Salinas is also facing extortion charges stemming from allegations that he and others attempted to get an opponent in the March 6 election to drop out of the race by making a video of him getting a lap-dance and threatening to release it publicly.
Salinas has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Meanwhile, the candidate who appeared in the lap-dance video, Gerardo Hernandez, will file a challenge to the election in the next few days, the Sun-News reported. Salinas beat Hernandez by 88 votes.
And, according to the Albuquerque Journal, Sunland Park has hired a new police chief to replace Monarez – Sgt. Jaime Reyes. But District Attorney Amy Orlando, whose office is prosecuting the case that, so far, has led to charges against 10 people, says that doesn’t restore her confidence in the police department in the city of 14,000 people.
“I don’t know that I can vouch for anybody down there,” the Journal quoted Orlando as saying.
Orlando said she will only accept referrals of felony cases from Sunland Park if the state police or sheriff are involved in investigations.