By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
Both the state and defense in the Tony Day double-homicide case want to break with usual New Mexico court procedure by holding a hearing on how well the teenager would respond to behavioral health treatment before a trial on murder charges.
The usual procedure in New Mexico courts is for such a proceeding to take place after trial.
District Judge Albert Mitchell on Monday asked that a joint motion from the attorneys be submitted within 10 days requesting the “amenability to treatment” proceeding be held before the trial. His decision followed arguments from both side during a pretrial hearing.
Day, 14, is accused of killing his adoptive mother Sue Day and his adoptive sister Sherry Folts on Nov. 14. He has been held in the Quay County Juvenile Detention facility since that time.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Buckels and District Attorney Tim Rose and Deputy District Attorney Kirk Chavez want the “amenability to treatment” portion of the case to be completed before the trial.
Rose explained that since Day is a juvenile, a determination on whether Day would respond well to treatment will provide certainty about what Day’s maximum sentence can be if he is found guilty. Advance knowledge of sentencing allowed will help set the direction of trial proceedings on matters like whether Day would plead guilty and whether the trial will be a jury proceeding or be held before the judge alone, Rose said.
New Mexico is one of only two states that calls for amenability proceedings to be held after trial, not before, Chavez said after the July 16 hearing on the day case.
Another hearing on pretrial issues is scheduled for Sept. 7.