Criminal activity by teenagers in Taos is sadly an obvious thing; if you have ever been a victim of a home or auto burglary it probably was committed during the day by a child who should have been in …
Criminal activity by teenagers in Taos is sadly an obvious thing; if you have ever been a victim of a home or auto burglary it probably was committed during the day by a child who should have been in school.
Recently Isiah Hamilton, 18, and his 15-year-old accomplice were caught by a deputy allegedly committing a burglary, and they were referred to the DA's office for prosecution. Subsequently, the 15-year-old accomplice confessed to several other burglaries. Some might not see teenage crime as a priority, but I would refer the public to the case of another 15-old-year. Nehemiah Griego of Albuquerque was only 15 in 2013 when he shot [his family].
More alarming is how teenagers are going into their own schools to hurt other children. In the recent case of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, 18-year old Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Alec McKinney opened fired with automatic weapons on their classmates, wounding eight of them. Colorado's Hispanic hero Kendrick Castillo acted within seconds when he jumped in front of one gunmen to disarm him and was killed saving 26 of his classmates; he was the only child of Juan and Maria Castillo.
We have our own Hispanic hero in Taos Police Chief David Trujillo: he charged a child with the rape of another child at Taos High School. The crime of rape is a murder of sorts; recently in the sentencing of convicted rapist James Brown in Taos - who admitted raping a 14-year-old girl from Peñasco - Katherine Duff, a mental health counselor spoke on behalf of the girl, and informed the court that the child had been diagnosed with depression, PTSD and suicidal thoughts after the rape.
The crimes that occurred in Colorado where Castillo lost his life saving the lives of his fellow students resulted in the two teenage assassins immediately being charged with murder and attempted murder. Here in Taos the rape case of the girl on school grounds was handed to Deputy District Attorney Tim Hasson, who had to dismiss the case because Hasson dropped the ball by failing to give the defense discovery. Hasson immediately falsely accused Taos Police Chief David Trujillo as the reason for his having to dismiss the rape case because he alleged that Trujillo failed to submit certain pieces of evidence of the rape to him. Hasson is also the same prosecutor who dropped the murder case of a three-year-old boy found buried in a tunnel like a dog [in the Amalia compound case] because by Hasson's own admission Hasson was studying "Islam" rather than prosecuting the murder.
Hasson blamed District Court Judge Sarah Backus on the murder case and now blames Trujillo on the rape case for being botched. Not only is he wrong on both counts, but he fails to understand that district court judges in Taos or law enforcement are not responsible for prosecuting cases properly - his office is. It is my opinion that Hasson is the ad hoc district attorney and therefore he doesn't have any problem providing incompetent services or being so arrogant about what he does because he doesn't have to answer to the public at election time. Hasson should be fired before Donald Gallegos leaves.
We need to prosecute and hold children in detention who are ripping us off and violating the health and liberty of other students at school. We need the governor to appoint a DA who will restore the office to its original public safety purpose and responsibility and to rebuild confidence in the justice system. Taoseños deserve nothing less than thorough, factual and consistent prosecutions of criminals including those under 18 years of age.
Anthony J. Ayala is an attorney in Taos.
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