Complaint against Tax. Dept. lawyer adds details to scandal

Newly released documents appear to show a top state Taxation and Revenue Department staffer was involved in alleged abuse of power that is subject to an ongoing probe. © New Mexico Political Report, 2015. Contact for info on republishing.  

In July, State Auditor General Counsel Sarita Nair filed an ethics complaint against Tax Department lead attorney Brad Odell with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of New Mexico, NM Political Report has learned. The Disciplinary Board opted not to take action against Odell, citing that it lacked sufficient evidence.

Incoming district judge faces discipline over subpoenas

A disciplinary panel is recommending censure against Emilio Chavez, a Taos assistant district attorney who is set to begin his tenure as a district judge on Aug. 17. The panel found that both he and Eighth Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos abused their subpoena power by issuing subpoenas without grand jury or judicial authority. From the disciplinary recommendations, drafted earlier this week:
In issuing the pre-indictment subpoenas the Respondents may have acted with the meritorious intentions of gathering information with which they could solve a crime that had occurred or was occurring in their community. However, it is not acceptable for any officer of the Court, and certainly not one with the responsibility and power of a prosecutor to use their position to try to obfuscate the rules to the degree the Respondents’ improper actions.

Martinez names Chandler, two others to benches

Former District Attorney Matt Chandler will be a district court judge in the Ninth Judicial District Court just months after being rejected for a high profile position as a University of New Mexico regent. Gov. Susana Martinez announced the appointments of Chandler and two others to fill judicial vacancies on Wednesday afternoon. Chandler has had an up and down couple of years. Chandler announced in early 2014 that he would resign to start his own local practice, and “pursue new endeavors in the private sector.” But it was his work in politics that led to the Senate rejecting his move back to government work in the form of a Board of Regents seat at the state’s largest university.