SANTA FE (KRQE) - Former Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr., who recently stepped down after pleading guilty to multiple felonies, is behind bars again.
Santa Fe County jail records show that Block was booked at 12:11 p.m. Monday on a remand order, indicating he violated a condition of his release.
It is the second time in the past month that he has been placed into custody. Block spent one night in jail in October for failing a court-ordered drug test, according to Santa Fe County deputies.
Under a plea agreement with the attorney general's office, Block pleaded guilty in September to racking up more than $8,000 in charges on his state-issued gas car in just a few months, stealing a used car he took for a test drive while on the PRC and pocketing campaign cash while running for the PRC. In order to avoid prison time, Block was ordered to successfully complete drug court. He was also ordered to resign from his job, never again run for elected office and pay restitution.
Even with the latest slip-up, attorney general Gary King said he made the right call.
"To the best of my knowledge, he failed another drug test," said King. "It is not unusual for someone to fail some number of tests when they're in the drug court program. Addiction is indeed a difficult thing to shake and I think the program recognizes that."
Both court officials and Santa Fe District Court Judge Michael Vigil wouldn't comment on Block's latest violation.
Former prosecutor and defense attorney R. David Pederson, who also serves as general counsel for King, said drug court program participants typically get between one to two years to get their act together before getting kicked out of the program.
"It isn't that it's more tolerant, but it recognizes the difference in dealing with people who have addiction issues," said Pederson.
Block will stay behind bars until his next court appearance, which hasn't been announced yet.
If he fails to complete drug court, Judge Vigil could sentence him to up to four and a half years in prison.
One of Block's relatives told News 13 this latest arrest has nothing to do with failing a drug test and that he is working very hard to finish the drug court program.
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