SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A Valencia County man facing five misdemeanor charges for allegedly harassing Gov. Susana Martinez remains behind bars in the Santa Fe County jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond despite facing only misdemeanor charges.
The attorney for 61-year-old James Sanchez acknowledges his client left multiple messages with the Governor's Office of Constituent Services in Santa Fe using profanity and insulting language and accusing the governor of ignoring his complaints. Attorney Thomas Esquibel said his client has been on a "crusade" to protect his family from cows crossing a residential subdivision road.
The state claims that he has threatened Martinez's life and the lives of some of her staff in the process.
In several audio recordings of Sanchez's messages released to reporters on Friday by Esquibel, Sanchez can be heard cursing in English and Spanish, claiming that Martinez had "breached" her obligations to take care of Sanchez's children.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/R67t8Z ) Magistrate David Segura refused to lower bond for Sanchez at a hearing on Friday. Court records show Sanchez was released on orders not to contact the governor after an initial arrest on three misdemeanor telephone harassment charges in April. He later left two more messages and was rearrested.
The state claims that the only reason he is currently being held on a $100,000 cash bond is because he didn't honor his conditions of release.
Esquibel said Friday he believes his client's arrests stem from several advertisements Sanchez paid to publish in the El Defensor Chieftain Socorro newspaper in April.
The ad claims that Martinez has "sided with wealthy cattle producers who let their cattle run loose on the public right-of-ways."
Sanchez says in his advertisement that the cattle have caused several accidents. The ad also says the Tierra Grande subdivision in Valencia County is "zoned residential" and that the law requires livestock to be fenced in.
Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist told the court that despite Sanchez's claims that he is trying to protect his family, many of the messages left for Martinez don't mention cattle or roadways.
"There is no crusade he is forwarding in those calls," Wahlquist told the judge.
Esquibel said his client is a Vietnam veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He also said Sanchez has been trying to better protect his roads so that his grown children and grandchildren can travel them safely.
Wahlquist asked the judge to maintain Sanchez's bond and keep him in custody pending trial.
"You already asked him not to do this anymore and he was unable to follow the court's orders," Wahlquist said.
Sanchez sat in court holding a cane he uses to help him walk. After Segura denied his motion to set new conditions for his release, he turned around and reassured his wife, Yvonne Sanchez, that he was doing well in jail.
After the hearing, Yvonne Sanchez said, "He's not the crazy person they are making him out to be."
Segura scheduled trial for Oct. 10.
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican
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