State faces uphill climb to keep Griego in custody, expert says | KOB 4
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State faces uphill climb to keep Griego in custody, expert says

Kai Porter
March 13, 2018 06:19 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. The clock is ticking for Nehemiah Griego. The New Mexico Attorney General's Office filed a motion Tuesday morning hoping to speed up the process to determine if Griego should be released from custody.

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Griego, who murdered five family members when he was 15, is set to be released from custody next week when he turns 21, but the Court of Appeals has ordered a new hearing that could possibly change that.

On Friday, a Children's Court judge will decide if Griego will remain in custody while he awaits that new hearing on whether or not he's been rehabilitated, and that's a process that could take months. KOB legal analyst Ahmad Assed believes prosecutors are going to have a tough time convincing a judge to keep Griego in custody past his 21st birthday.

"The mechanism the state is trying to bring forward as a means to effectuate a good argument before the court really is flawed in the sense that that mechanism pertains to someone that has yet to be arraigned," Assed said. "This young man has pleaded and is awaiting sentencing."

If the judge does order Griego to remain in custody, Assed said he'll likely be transferred to the county jail because the Children Youth and Families Department loses jurisdiction.

"The argument is going to have to be "is he a danger now?" or "is he at risk of flight now?'" he said. "He's been there five years. They're going to have to argue evidence as it exists today, not back then."

Prosecutors will try to keep Griego in custody as he awaits a new amenability hearing to determine whether or not he's been receptive to treatment. Last week, the appellate court reversed a 2016 decision by Children's Court Judge John Romero to sentence Griego as a child and release him when he's 21.

Now Romero will have to revisit the case and decide if Griego has been rehabilitated or if he should be sentenced as an adult.

"It's very difficult for me to see Judge Romero concluding differently," Assed said. "What I think that will happen is there will be a second amenability hearing. There will be more express written basis for his decision."

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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