New Mexico attorney held in contempt for COVID scare, says deputies are to blame

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico attorney has been held in contempt of court for causing a COVID-19 scare but she says deputies dropped the ball. Sheri Raphaelson is defending Mark Hice, whose murder trial was supposed to start last week in Española but Judge Mari Sanchez-Gagne declared a mistrial during jury selection when it came to light Raphaelson knowingly had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days.

The judge then slapped Raphaelson with a contempt charge saying she acted in bad faith and put everyone in the courtroom at risk. Rio Arriba County deputies testified Raphaelson told them she’d had that contact more than two weeks earlier and therefore outside the quarantine period.

Raphaelson disputes that saying she was honest about the timeline and the deputies let her in the building anyway. The judge says for wasting court resources Raphaelson must pay more than $3,500 and $1,000 as a fine and the rest to cover jury costs.

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