Harding County Magistrate Judge Karen Mitchell said she would recuse herself Thursday as the judge in her criminal contempt of court case against Tenth Judicial District Attorney Tim Rose. Mitchell filed her recusal request Monday in Quay County County Magistrate Court.
The judge decided to recuse herself last Thursday after Rose, citing New Mexico statutes, pointed out that a judge cannot serve as both prosecutor and judge in the same case in a criminal matter.
Mitchell accused Rose of criminal contempt of court in April, based on her allegation that Rose instructed law enforcement officers not to carry out a bench warrant. Rose previously denied issuing such an instruction, and again said he disputed the judge’s accusation during Thursday’s hearing.
Rose said earlier that while he did not issue instructions, he had advised law enforcement officers that carrying out a bench warrant to arrest Kevin Vance Stacy of San Jon would subject the county correctional system to the high cost of treating Stacy’s very serious illness.
He also advised law enforcement officers, he said, that one of Stacy’s two convictions in 2007 of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was likely to be thrown out, since Stacy’s defense was conducted by former public defender Tony Romo, who was disciplined by the New Mexico Bar Association in 2008 for providing inadequate defense of criminal defendants. Rose said he has examined Stacy’s case and found evidence that Romo provided inadequate representation to Stacy.
That would mean Stacy would have only one valid DUI conviction, which would not warrant jail time.
Stacy left New Mexico in 2008 before sentencing could occur on his second conviction, Rose said, but returned to San Jon this year, because of his illness. In the meantime, Rose said, Stacy had held down steady employment in a gold mine in Nevada.
Since Stacy’s return, Rose said, Stacy has contacted Rose. Rose advised him to engage another attorney for further handling of his case, which, he said, Stacy has done.