First Judicial District Court Judge Jason Lidyard held an additional hearing May 16 for Taos County Deputy Lorenzo Sanches, who was charged with domestic violence, to clarify an earlier ruling based on media coverage of the case.
“I set this because an odd series of events I opened up the website to the Santa Fe Reporter as I usually do to see the going abouts of Northern New Mexico...and I saw my name on a headline...so then I went and saw an article that described the conditions of release in this case, and it misconstrued what my intentions were,” Lidyard said. “It made me think that potentially if the media was unable to understand what my intentions were then possibly the defendant was unable to as well, so I wanted to set this hearing for clarification of my order.”
The Santa Fe Reporter linked to two articles about the case that appeared in the Rio Grande SUN.
The first article detailed Sanchez’s attorney’s claims that the victim in the case was unable to think clearly due to her menstrual period. The second described Sanchez’s conditions of release set by Lidyard which allowed him to keep his firearms for “employment purposes.”
What exactly constituted “employment purposes,” was at issue because deputies generally keep their weapons in their assigned units. Something that Sanchez said after the hearing he had also been doing.
That means, each night when he returned home from work, where he resides with the victim in the case, his guns were only steps away, inside his Taos County-issued patrol unit.
That was not Lidyard’s intention when he set the conditions of release, as he made clear at the May 16 hearing.
“Because the victim is choosing to reside with Mr. Sanchez, and they are continuing in this habitat at this dwelling, I’m not allowing him to carry a firearm outside of his employment,” Lidyard said. “That firearm is to remain at his employer, so when he leaves work, he does not leave with his gun, so he doesn’t go home to where the victim is residing with him, with lethal force.”
Attorney Alan Maestas, who represents Sanchez, said he would communicate with the Taos County Sheriff’s Office to inform them of the courts restrictions. He said after the hearing that Sanchez would comply with all of the courts conditions of release.