CYFD attempts to intervene in Tony Day case

QCS staff

A bid by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Dept. to oppose the order of proceedings in the Tony Day case has both Tenth Judicial District Attorneys and Day’s attorney, Jeffrey Buckels, scratching their heads.

Day, 15, is charged in the slayings of his adopted mother and sister in November 2012, and remains in the juvenile detention area of the Quay County Detention Center.

On CYFD’s intervention in Day’s case, both the prosecuting and defending attorneys objected based on doubts of the department’s standing in the case Tuesday in Tenth Judicial District Court.

Kirk Chavez, assistant district attorney, argued that allowing CYFD to enter the case on that basis would give the department the status of a party to the case, which is not desirable.

Judge Albert Mitchell, however, gave CYFD until Sept. 30 to file a brief explaining why the department opposes making a determination on whether Day would respond to behavioral health treatment before a trial on Day’s murder case occurs. Then, Mitchell said, he could rule on whether CYFD should be granted a heightened role in the case.

Since much of the evidence in Day’s case revolves around CYFD records, which are kept confidential by state statute and regulation, CYFD has been monitoring the case closely to ensure that department records continue to be sealed.

Both the DA’s office and the defense indicate they want Day’s amenability to treatment to be determined before the criminal trial begins.

In New Mexico, it is customary to conduct a trial of the case before amenability is determined. New Mexico is one of two states in which criminal charges are usually determined before amenability, attorneys have said.

To make the case for CYFD’s intervention in this matter, Jennifer Padgett, the department’s second-in-command, listened in while Chief Deputy Counsel Ann Halter made the case to enter a motion opposing the order of proceedings. In the hearing Tuesday, Halter did not offer reasons for CYFD’s opposition to the order of proceedings.

After the hearing, Tenth District Attorny Tim Rose said he does not understand why CYFD seeks to intervene or why it wishes to counter the order of proceedings, which the judge and both prosecutors and defenders have established.

In another matter brought up in Tuesday’s status hearing on Day’s case, both the DA’s attorneys and Buckels agreed to have Day begin treatment at the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center, Albuquerque. Mitchell granted Buckels’ motion to make the transfer.

Chavez explained to the court that Day has remained in the juvenile detention center for nearly a year, and the longer Day remains in juvenile detention, the less likely he is to be amenable to treatment.

Rose said Sequoyah combines facilities for treatment with security procedures that allow treatment of incarcerated individuals.

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