State board revokes former Torrance County Sheriff’s law enforcement certification

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The former Torrance County Sheriff turned magistrate judge is no longer a certified law enforcement officer following a vote by a state board. New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board members voted to revoke Heath White’s law enforcement certification during a meeting Thursday.

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Following a closed session meeting, four board members voted to revoke White’s certification, while one board member abstained from the vote. No board members voted against the motion to revoke White’s certification.

The vote comes more than two years after White was criminally charged in an embezzlement case. In May 2019, White was charged with stealing more than $20,000 from the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office, accused of keeping sheriff’s office equipment after he left office. White is also accused of using public funds to buy items for personal use, including guns and car parts.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office filed the case against White. A now former Bernalillo County Judge Charles Brown dismissed the case in late 2019, citing issues with search warrants the state used to collect evidence in the case.

That dismissal remains up in the air. The case is being appealed by the AG’s Office. The New Mexico Court of Appeals is now one month into reviewing the decision. That court has no deadline on when it may have a final say, which will ultimately determine if White stands trial.

White remains on unpaid suspension from the bench until the criminal case and a judicial standards commission case is complete. He hasn’t served on the bench since May 2019.

Thursday’s NMLEA Board decision ensures White can no longer serve as a law enforcement officer. White’s six-year term as a magistrate judge began in January 2019 and will expire in December 2024. KRQE News 13 reached out to White’s attorney for comment on Thursday, but did not hear back.

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