BY MAIRE O’NEILL
A preliminary hearing for Eric Greene, 19, of White Rock was pushed forward to Mar. 27 Monday by Los Alamos Magistrate Judge Catherine Taylor. Despite an agreement beforehand between Deputy District Attorney Kent Wahlquist and Greene’s attorney William Snowden to support Greene’s release from custody pending trial under pretrial conditions of release, Judge Taylor once again expressed her wish to keep Greene in custody.
Judge Taylor had ordered last Thursday that Greene remain in custody at the Los Alamos Detention Center and be released 30 minutes ahead of his time to report to his job at the Smith’s supermarket in White Rock. Greene was arrested by Los Alamos Police Department and charged with two counts of trafficking of a controlled substance (distribution) narcotic, one count of distribution of a controlled substance and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. All four charges are felonies and Greene has pleaded not guilty. Greene is to report back to the detention center by not more than 30 minutes after his scheduled work time according to his verified work schedule.
At Monday afternoon’s hearing, Wahlquist noted that the state had just received a lot of discovery that had not been available Friday. He said clearly had not disclosed that to Snowden yet.
“What we’re going to do – we would agree to (Greene’s) release and ask that the case be set for prelim under the 60-day rule (within) 60 days from the date of the felony first appearance,” he said.
Wahlquist asked that Greene be placed on pretrial services and all other standard conditions of release. He asked for a setting for the case several weeks out because of the amount of discovery for both attorneys to go through. He said he wanted some type of pretrial supervision of Greene but was not requesting electronic. Snowden told the Court that was the agreement he and Wahlquist had discussed prior to the hearing.
Judge Taylor suggested having the preliminary hearing March 27 at 1 p.m.
“I’m going to leave the conditions as they are. It appears that Mr. Greene is employed as far as we know. Until that changes, I think that the condition that he report into custody when he’s not at work is the best in the interest of this community,” she said.
“Judge, I think that is an absolutely incorrect ruling and I think that if there was a danger to the community they would have arrested him in May. They were not concerned about it. There was a concern about a flight risk – that would have happened. Keeping him in custody prior to this is improper. It doesn’t follow the bail guidelines that have been set. He should be released OR as Mr. Wahlquist and I had said. Also, we needed to have a prelim within 10 days and we’re not having that. Continuing him on the same conditions violates that rule as well,” Snowden said.
Judge Taylor told Snowden that she would suggest that he would bring a motion and Snowden responded that he would just file an appeal.
“That would be fine too. Then we’ll get a final answer,” Judge Taylor said. “But for the time being under Rule 6-401.12, I think it’s appropriate given the danger I think he poses to the community and particularly children.”
Wahlquist noted that if Greene continued to be detained, the preliminary hearing would need to be held within 10 days and that Det. Jemuel Montoya, the case agent, was not going to be available within that timeframe. At that time, Snowden moved for dismissal of the charges and Judge Taylor asked Wahlquist for his response.
“I hear the basis for the dismissal being the failure of the state to have a preliminary hearing within 10 days. I think dismissal as a remedy of that would be an extremely harsh remedy and the remedy would actually be release so that we’re under the 60-day rule. If your honor wants to keep those conditions as is, I think that at the end of the 10-day rule, it would either mean dismissal or release,” Wahlquist said.
Judge Taylor asked if the state could proceed without Det. Montoya because he is not the only witness. Wahlquist said was not sure as he had just received the discovery and until he went through all the discovery he would not know. Judge Taylor pointed out that there is no right to discovery at a preliminary hearing, saying it’s the probable case hearing they were talking about.
Wahlquist said the only right to discovery would be anything in the state’s possession that is exculpatory would have to be disclosed. I have that now and will as quickly as possible disclose that to the defense.
“The disclosure is not the issue; it is me having a chance to review this to know which witnesses I will need outside of Det. Montoya,”
Judge Taylor asked Wahlquist what was in the file on his desk that he had been given by Det. Montoya that she could see from the bench. Wahlquist described the contents.
“It looks to me that you just need to make some copies,” she said, going on to ask how long Wahlquist estimated that would take. He responded just a day or two with the six discs taking the longest time.
“As of right now, the only discovery I have had is the affidavit for arrest warrant which does not name very many of the witnesses. Det. Montoya is the case agent, the one that did the interviews and organized much of what is alleged to have occurred with alleged controlled buys,” Wahlquist said.
Judge Taylor asked Greene about his work schedule and asked his father if Greene was welcome to live with the family and if they have other children in the home. She said she assumed the other children have some sort of social life or they might have friends they hang out with on occasion and the response was, “Yes, but outside the home”.
“I am going to release you on your own recognizance given the limitations on the days and the timeline you are entitled to when you are in custody for your preliminary hearing however you will be on pretrial services here, not Santa Fe. You are to check in with (the County Probation Office) immediately on your release today to go over what is required. You will be on electronic monitoring which means that she will know where you are at all times. You are basically to be at work or at home,” Judge Taylor said.
Greene is required to continue to provide his work schedule to the Probation Office. All other previous condition remain the same.
Snowden asked the Court to allow Green to use the internet but not social media saying that he had checks to deposit and needed to use online banking. He said he and Wahlquist had discussed that Greene will not access any social media.
Judge Taylor asked questions about internet in the Greene home, what electronic devices are in the home and whether or not Greene owns one. She asked if he was willing to let his parents supervise his use when he is on his laptop.
“That’s the only way you’re going to get on – if your parents supervise it,” she said. “If you are in a meeting with Mr. Snowden, he can supervise that if it’s necessary. You are not to possess a cell phone in any way. Don’t borrow from your siblings, don’t borrow from your friends, your parents. If you need to make a call, you use the landline,” Judge Taylor said.
Snowden responded that people just don’t have landlines anymore and if Greene is going to communicate with him, Green is going to have to use a cellphone. Judge Taylor agreed that Greene was going to have to use the phone and asked if he has a cellphone plan. Greene currently doesn’t have a cellphone. Judge Taylor agreed to allow supervised cellphone use.
“You can’t just carry it around with you all day in your pocket,” Judge Taylor said. She stressed that Greene is not to use social media or any application used to communicate with other people.
Greene was released to his parents on electronic monitoring Monday afternoon and his preliminary hearing is slated for Mar. 27.