Most of the state completed their tallies of ballots, including absentee ballots, but election officials in Taos County and Santa Fe County received permission from district courts to extend the time needed to finish tallying absentee ballots. The two counties, like many others, received an unprecedented number of absentee ballots for a primary election, and numbers that even dwarfed high-turnout general elections in the past. It isn’t clear how many votes were cast by absentee ballots, but as of 5 p.m. on Election Day, county clerks had received more than 246,000 absentee ballots. In the 2016 primary, county clerks statewide received 23,066. Santa Fe County on its own received more than the statewide total in the 2016 primary.
Former Secretary of State Dianna Duran withdrew a motion seeking to reduce her sentence for gambling with campaign funds
KRQE-TV first reported this, citing court officials. NM Political Report had already reached out to Erlinda Johnson, Duran’s attorney, for confirmation but was told Johnson was in a trial. We will add any comment by Johnson to this story when we receive it. Duran sought to reduce the amount of public speaking requirements and the amount of community service required as part of her sentencing. Duran’s first public speaking appearance lasted just five minutes and she showed up 40 minutes late.
New Mexico’s former Secretary of State who went to jail for gambling with campaign funds is back in the news. This time, it’s because she wants certain parts of her criminal sentence reduced. Update: Judge Glenn Ellington set a hearing on March 11 on Duran’s request. The rest of the story remains as originally written below. It can get a bit complicated and news reports have focused on the back and forth, so we decided to break it down and explain what is going on.
Former Secretary of State Dianna Duran turned herself in and began a 30-day jail sentence on Friday. The sentence came after Duran pleaded guilty to six charges, including two felonies, related to moving campaign funds to personal accounts. Duran has said she is seeking treatment for a gambling addiction. Duran resigned shortly before the guilty pleas earlier this year. While immediately after the guilty pleas Duran spent more time talking about how she had a “tremendous” public career than showing remorse.
Dianna Duran will be going to jail this Friday, where she will spend the next thirty days, including the holidays. Erlinda Johnson, said that Duran would not withdraw her guilty plea and will instead accept the sentence handed down by a judge earlier this week. “With the same resolve with which Ms. Duran swiftly accepted responsibility, she will accept the sentence of the court,” Johnson said in a short emailed statement to NM Political Report and other media outlets. Note: This story may be updated with further details throughout the day. Duran pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including violating campaign finance laws and embezzling money from her campaign accounts for personal use.
The president of a prominent New Mexico public relations firm says that the sentence of former Secretary of State Dianna Duran is an opportunity for her, public relations-wise. Judge Glenn Ellington sentenced Duran to 30 days in jail, which drew the most attention. He also, however, ordered 2,000 hours of community service and required that Duran speak to civic organizations four times a month for three years. He also ordered Duran to not only write letters to those she wronged, but also to residents of the state to be published in six papers in areas throughout the state. The public events and letters are where where Tom Garrity sees the opportunity, according to his blog.
Dianna Duran will spend just thirty days in jail if she is able to abide by terms of release set down by Judge Glenn Ellington on Monday for six crimes she pleaded guilty to earlier this year. The total sentence is seven and a half years with all but 30 days suspended. The former Secretary of State will serve supervised probation for five years and pay $14,000 in fines and just over $13,000 in restitution. Related Story: PR firm head says Duran sentencing an ‘opportunity’
Jail time or incarceration of any kind were dropped from Duran’s plea deal with Attorney General Hector Balderas, who filed 65 criminal counts against her in August. Duran pleaded guilty in October to embezzling campaign money for personal use, which she later admitted was part of a gambling addiction.
According to a memo from her attorney regarding sentencing in a high profile case, former Secretary of State Dianna Duran does not deserve to spend any time in jail. The memo from attorney Erlinda Johnson says Duran is seeking treatment for gambling and that Duran is unlikely to commit any more crimes. The Albuquerque Journal was the first to report on the memo, as well as information from the Public Employees Retirement Association that Duran recently received her first pension check of $4,857.56. Judge Glenn Ellington will review the plea deal and ultimately decide on Duran’s punishment. He said that if there was jail time, he would allow Duran to withdraw her guilty pleas.
Jeffrey Paul is an Albuquerque resident and author of “Inside Politics in America: A View From the Outside.” Before handing down Dianna Duran’s sentence, I hope First Judicial District Court Judge Glenn Ellington remembers Duran’s campaign promise – to restore confidence and integrity to the Office of Secretary of State. A major focus of the responsibilities of the Secretary of State are regulating campaign and election ethics and overseeing campaign finance fund collection and expenditures. As Duran steps down from her position as Secretary of State and pleads guilty to two felonies and four misdemeanors, Judge Ellington needs to remember that Duran violated several campaign finance laws she was elected by the people of New Mexico to enforce. What’s most appalling to me is not the crime itself but Duran’s dismissal of any responsibility for endangering the integrity of the office of the Secretary of State.
Following the resignation of Dianna Duran the House Special Investigatory Committee looking into her impeachment will not meet on Tuesday as regularly scheduled. The panel was investigating whether or not the House should look into impeachment of Duran for the multiple charges she faced. Duran pleaded guilty to six charges, including two felonies, on Friday. Hours earlier, Duran resigned from office. Speaker of the House Don Tripp, R-Socorro, also issued a statement where he addressed the need for the panel—or lack thereof now that Duran is no longer in office.