JUDGE: Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s criminal charges stand

Crime

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been a difficult year for Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan after getting slapped with felony charges. Now, online records show he’s trying to get a break in court.

Back in May, Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan was arrested after refusing to hand over his cell phone when Española Police, with the help of the Taos County Sheriff’s Office, served him with a search warrant. Lujan is accused of getting in the way of the criminal case involving Española City Councilor John Vigil and a man named Phillip Chacon.

Lujan was charged in two cases for resisting, harboring or aiding a felon, and bribery of a witness. As he waits to go to trial, KRQE News 13 has learned his attorney has filed a motion asking a judge to suppress evidence.

Court documents show Lujan claims the Taos County Sheriff’s office had no business being there that day. On top of that, he claims he was interrogated without having his Miranda Rights read to him.

However, two weeks ago, a judge ruled on Lujan’s motion saying the Taos County Sheriff’s Office had the right to be there that day, the search warrants were valid, and that he was not interrogated while in custody, so Miranda Rights did not apply. Lujan’s attorney wasn’t able to do an interview, but says he will, “continue to push to ensure that Sheriff Lujan gets a fair trial and that his constitutional rights are respected throughout the process.”

Lujan’s attorney also says he believes this entire case has been politically motivated prosecution by law enforcement. Lujan is set to go on trial in May for his bribery of a witness and harboring a felon charges. He has a separate trial in July for his resisting charges.

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