The Taos News - - LOCAL NEWS - The fol­low­ing is a se­lected over­view of re­cent case ac­tiv­ity in or re­lated to the Taos County court sys­tem. All dates and times are sub­ject to change. – Com­piled by John Miller

Tri­als Oct. 15

Jose Coca, jury trial – Taos District Court, Court­room A, Judge Sarah Backus

Coca, a 57-year-old Ran­chos de Taos man, is set to ap­pear for trial next week on a child sex­ual abuse case filed in July 2017.

Ac­cord­ing to a grand jury in­dict­ment ob­tained in Fe­bru­ary, Coca sex­u­ally abused a child un­der 13 years old.

Coca faces three counts re­lated to the al­leged abuse.

Oct. 29

Cris­tian Orozco, jury trial – Taos District Court, Court­room A, Judge Sarah Backus

A jury trial pre­vi­ously sched­uled for Orozco, an Es­pañola man ac­cused of kid­nap­ping a

15-year-old girl in Peñasco in

2017, has been re­set for the end of the month.

Dur­ing the in­ci­dent, Orozco al­legedly forced en­try into a home in Peñasco, where his vic­tim was stay­ing with her grand­par­ents. Orozco al­legedly bran­dished a hand­gun, as­saulted the girl’s fam­ily and kid­napped her at gun­point. Orozco then fled south with the girl to the Es­pañola area, where he was ar­rested by po­lice, and the vic­tim was safely re­cov­ered the fol­low­ing morn­ing Feb. 26.

Orozco faces nine counts, in­clud­ing three counts of kid­nap­ping, two for ag­gra­vated as­sault, one for ag­gra­vated bur­glary, one for abuse of a child and one for armed rob­bery.

On Aug. 6, the de­fen­dant’s de­fense at­tor­ney, Ben Mon­dragon, filed a mo­tion to dis­miss seven of the charges, ar­gu­ing that the court had amended the crim­i­nal com­plaint as­so­ci­ated with the case af­ter an orig­i­nal com­plaint had been filed.

“The de­fen­dant was not given any no­tice of the pro­posed amend­ments or sub­stan­tial ad­di­tions to the crim­i­nal com­plaint,” Mon­dragon wrote in the mo­tion.

He also ar­gued that an in­ad­e­quate amount of time was pro­vided to cross-ex­am­ine wit­nesses re­lated to the case be­fore the ad­di­tional charges were added, vi­o­lat­ing Orozco’s right to due process.

As of press time Wed­nes­day (Oct. 10), how­ever, all nine counts in the com­plaint re­mained, with­out an order submitted by the court in re­sponse to Mon­dragon’s mo­tion, ac­cord­ing to court records.

For more on this story, re­fer to our past cov­er­age on­line at

Other events Oct. 1

Martin Rivera, rul­ing to sup­press – Taos District Court, Court­room A, Judge Sarah Backus

Judge Backus ruled early this month to sup­press photo ev­i­dence ob­tained from a vic­tim of a 2017 armed rob­bery who had iden­ti­fied Martin Rivera of Ran­chos de Taos as the man who had robbed him.

Rivera was charged with a series of crimes in April 2017, in­clud­ing steal­ing a black 2014 Toy­ota Tun­dra from a man in a Ran­chos de Taos park­ing lot. The sus­pect then fled south to Al­bu­querque, where he was later ar­rested with a fe­male ju­ve­nile who had ac­com­pa­nied him dur­ing the crime spree.

Ac­cord­ing to court records, the vic­tim whose car had been stolen went to re­port the crime to the Taos County Sher­iff’s Of­fice not long af­ter the theft had oc­curred. Af­ter hear­ing the vic­tim’s ac­count, a mem­ber of the sher­iff’s of­fice showed him a mug shot of Rivera, whom the vic­tim quickly iden­ti­fied as the man who had robbed him.

Later that day, the vic­tim was also shown a photo ar­ray and again iden­ti­fied Rivera as the sus­pect. Ac­cord­ing to Backus, the pre­sen­ta­tion of mul­ti­ple sus­pect pho­tos was the proper pro­ce­dure to fol­low when ask­ing a vic­tim to iden­tify the per­pe­tra­tor of a crime.

“As de­scribed, the one-per­son show-up was im­proper,” she wrote in her rul­ing to sup­press the photo ev­i­dence this month.

John Lovelace of the 8th Ju­di­cial District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice had ar­gued that be­cause the sus­pect was at large and armed with a weapon, the ur­gency of the sit­u­a­tion war­ranted the un­usual photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process.

Backus dis­agreed, say­ing that “it would not have taken very long to gather sev­eral more pho­tos of po­ten­tial sus­pects ...”

A sec­ond case con­tain­ing an ag­gra­vated flee­ing a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer charge re­lated to the same in­ci­dent was also filed in Taos District Court and has been joined for pur­poses of re­solv­ing all counts filed if and when the case goes to trial.

For more on this case, re­fer to our past cov­er­age on­line at

John Miller

Cris­tian Orozco is set to ap­pear for a jury trial later this month in Taos District Court for al­legedly kid­nap­ping a mi­nor in the Peñasco area in 2017.

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