Judge faces removal for sending Taos group to jail for contempt
A judge who sent a group of people from Taos Pueblo to jail on contempt charges could be removed from the bench pending a session before the New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission.

Judge Sam Sanchez jailed 32 tribal members because he said they became unruly at a sentencing hearing in November 2009. The state Supreme Court overturned the charges and expunged the contempt citations from the record.

The group -- including several elderly tribal members -- 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.

The Judicial Standards Commission will consider Sanchez's fate at a closed session on Monday.

Get the Story:
Judge's Trial To Move Forward N.M. High Court Blocks Request (The Albuquerque Journal 12/3)

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