Court order lets Tony Day go on field trips

By Steve Hansen

QCS Managing Editor

A 15-year-old Tucumcari boy accused of killing his adoptive mother and sister in November 2012 is being allowed to attend field trips as a patient of the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center in Albuquerque, according to a court order signed by Tenth Judicial District Court Judge Albert Mitchell.

Tenth Judicial District Attorney Tim Rose is challenging that order, citing the violent nature of Tony Day’s alleged crime, possible threats to public safety and the possibility Day might escape.

Day should not be allowed to participate in recreational field trips, Rose said in a motion challenging the court order issued by Mitchell.

Rose said Mitchell’s order was issued without consulting the district attorney’s office, as the judge apparently had pledged to do last December.

Mitchell was not available for comment Tuesday.

“While these recreational activities my be appropriate for certain children that are at Sequoyah (i.e. nonviolent offenders),” Rose wrote, “(they are) certainly not appropriate for Tony Day, who brutally murdered two people and is awaiting trial and of whom we are yet to receive any information as to his mental state, dangerousness, etc.”

Rose said he is not assured there would be adequate restrictions on children “or any other measures taken to assure children …(won’t) escape or cause harm to others.”

Jeffrey Buckels, Day’s defense attorney said the intent of the field trips “has nothing to do with recreation.”

“They are therapeutic,” Buckels said. The field trips, he said, are a part of a therapy program and indicate that detainees are “ready to graduate to different activities” as part of treatment.

He said the request to permit Day to participate in the field trips originated with Sequoyah staff.

Kathleen Oakey, Day’s legal guardian — like Buckels a public defender — relayed the Sequoyah staff’s request to Mitchell.

As to Day’s readiness for such activities, Buckels said, “I would defer to the professionals” on the Sequoyah staff.

“There appears to be no information provided directly by Sequoyah as to these field trips or any information whatsoever as to whether Tony Day would be a flight risk or a danger to himself or others if allowed to participate in the field trips,” Rose said in his motion.

Without a hearing, the motion says, the court filed an order on or about Jan. 30, allowing Day to attend field trips without consulting the DA’s office.

Rose said he did not become aware of the motion until March 10, when an amended order was filed.

“No hearing was scheduled and the court did not contact the state or victims prior to issuing either order,” Rose’s motion concluded.

Sequoyah’s website describes the facility as a “36-bed adolescent treatment program operating 24 hours a day in a secure setting,” and “a safety-net program that specializes in aggressive boys ages 13-17 who have the cognitive capacity to benefit from verbal therapies.”

Further, according to the website, the facility is “for treatment, not incarceration.”

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