Judge who jailed Taos Pueblo group for contempt faces sanction
A judge in New Mexico who wrongly sent a group of people from Taos Pueblo to jail on contempt charges faces punishment for his actions.

Judge Sam Sanchez jailed the 32 tribal members because he said they became unruly at a sentencing hearing last November. The state Supreme Court overturned the charges and expunged the citations from the record.

The state Judicial Standards Commission wants Sanchez suspended for a month without pay. But the Supreme Court said a suspension probably isn't in the best interests of the judicial process and ordered the commission and Sanchez to discuss the matter further.

The tribal members -- including several elderly Indians -- spent one night in jail before being released. Some were sent as far away as Santa Fe, over 70 miles from Taos Pueblo.

The incident was sparked by the sentencing hearing of Dominic Bau, a tribal member who pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old relative. The crime occurred off the reservation.

Supporters of Bau and family members of the victim clashed at the hearing.

Get the Story:
Court Will Not Suspend Judge (The Albuquerque Journal 8/31)

Related Stories:
Arrests of Taos Pueblo members expunged by court (1/7)
Contempt charges dropped against Pueblo group (11/24)