The state Attorney General’s Office is asking a judge to reconsider his decision to drop embezzlement charges against former Torrance County Sheriff Heath White.
According to KRQE, Judge Charles Brown dismissed a number of embezzlement charges against White in November. He criticized the investigation and said that a warrant used to search a store that didn't belong to White was invalid.
Last May, White was serving as a magistrate judge when the Attorney General's Office accused him of stealing $150,000 worth of equipment and guns from the Torrance County Sheriff's Office. According to investigators, White had ordered the items—including night vision goggles, auto parts and a number of guns—while serving as Sheriff. The items seemingly went missing at the time of his departure from the Sheriff's Office in December 2018. Several of the items were reportedly recovered from White's home and a local store.
According to Brown's ruling last October, the evidence presented against White was “not true and misrepresented.” He ruled that there had been no probable cause in the case and dismissed all charges against the former sheriff.
Last week, the Attorney General's Office filed an appeal against the ruling.
Groups Accuse Lab of Mistreating Animals
Two animal advocacy groups have filed complaints against the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) in Albuquerque, claiming staff negligence led to the unnecessary deaths of lab monkeys.
The Associated Press reports that Ohio-based group Stop Animal Exploitation Now sent a letter to the US Department of Agriculture accusing the lab of violating the Animal Welfare Act and exhibiting a “multi-year pattern of negligence and carelessness.” It accused the lab of performing “unapproved experimental procedures” on primates and “denying adequate veterinary care to multiple animals.” It also claims that two monkeys died “suspiciously.” The group is requesting that regulators investigate the lab.
Last week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a complaint letter to the National Institutes of Health, claiming that “federal reports document a pattern of carelessness and disregard for basic safety conditions” for lab monkeys at the facility. The organization has asked that LRRI's public health service animal welfare assurance be withdrawn.
Last November, USDA released an inspection report that found inadequate veterinary care and improper animal handling at the lab.
AG Asks For Protection of Homeless
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has asked legislators to consider protecting homeless people under the state’s hate crime law.
According to KOB, Balderas wants to update the current hate crime statute. “We have had brutal acts of crime committed to homeless populations in the state of New Mexico,” he told reporters. “We have had enough of that type of violent crime of this vulnerable population, and it's important to do what we can to protect that class of individual.”
State laws already define targeting a person for acts of violence because of their age, gender identity, disability or sexual orientation as hate crimes.