Judge tosses out 5 charges against former Tax and Revenue Secretary
May 24, 2019 06:22 PM
SANTA FE, N.M. — Former New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla was back in court Friday afternoon for a motion hearing.
Padilla is accused of embezzlement and also abusing her power as an elected official for personal gain. Padilla was facing 8 different charges.
During Friday’s hearing Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer threw out five misdemeanor charges in the case that deal with state ethics laws.
Those charges stemmed from allegations Padilla improperly accessed confidential tax records of former clients using a tax processing system.
The defense had asked the judge to throw out the charges – saying that the statute prosecutors used to charge Padilla was too vague and unconstitutional.
"The argument here is judge and what's clear is there are no boundaries to these statues that's the problem with the way they're worded," said defense attorney Paul Kennedy.
Prosecutors argued the statute is constitutional.
"The court is to presume the statue is constitutional and unless the court is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt this statue is unconstitutional the court should uphold," a said prosecutor for the state.
The reason is complicated, but Judge Marlowe Sommer threw out the five charges, basically saying the statue prosecutors used isn't appropriate in this case.
"I do think that what the state wants to use as unlawful, I think that they're using the ethical principles, and I don't that's appropriate. I don't think that that portion of the act can be used as a violation," she said.
Attorney General Hector Balderas released a statement in response to the judge's decision:
“Government officials must be held accountable to the same standards as all other New Mexicans. We are fully committed to presenting this embezzlement case at trial and have already asked the appellate courts to review the dismissal of ethical charges against public officials."
Padilla is still facing three charges. Two of them are felonies.
Her trial is scheduled to begin in July
Updated: May 24, 2019 06:22 PM
Created: May 24, 2019 05:53 PM
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