Duane Lopez has four misdemeanor and one petty misdemeanor convictions this year



FARMINGTON — The San Juan County District Attorney's Office has filed a motion to hold a man who faces 10 sets of charges without bond.

Duane Lopez, 37, was charged three times in Aztec Magistrate Court this week alone, according to court records.

Additionally, there were four sets of misdemeanor charges, two sets of petty misdemeanor charges and one set of felony charges filed against Lopez between Jan. 1 and Sept. 8, according to court records.

The DA's Office filed an expedited motion for pretrial detention on Wednesday in district court to hold Lopez without bond, according to court documents.

Dustin O'Brien, San Juan County chief deputy district attorney, said the motion was filed because Lopez entered a plea agreement in a case in district court last week as the three sets of charges were filed on Monday and Wednesday.

He added Lopez appeared to keep committing crimes after being released, which violated the conditions of his release.

In the district court case, Lopez was accused of stealing a purse on Aug. 14 from someone at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, according to court documents.

A purse, a cellphone and a diamond ring were the items Lopez is accused of stealing, according to the criminal complaint.

In the plea agreement, Lopez pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony count of larceny.

A fourth-degree felony count of tampering with evidence and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest was dismissed.

The DA's Office did not oppose a suspended sentence of 18 months on supervised probation, according to the agreement. A hearing regarding the sentence has not been set.

The motion to hold Lopez without bond also cites the two sets of felony charges filed against Lopez on Monday and Wednesday, according to the motion.

Lopez is accused of breaking a window to enter the 7-2-11 gas station at 5697 U.S. Highway 64 west of Farmington on Sept. 23 and stealing cigarettes and cigarette lighters, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

In the second set of felony charges, Lopez is accused of stealing a Ford Escort from a residence on County Road 5787 between Farmington and Bloomfield during the night of Sept. 22-23, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Deputies for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office arrested Lopez after the victim whose vehicle was stolen provided a possible location for Lopez, according to court documents.

Lopez has four misdemeanor convictions this year for two counts of shoplifting, resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records. He also has a petty misdemeanor conviction for shoplifting.

Lopez has one pending misdemeanor case for resisting, evading or obstructing an officer and one pending petty misdemeanor case for shoplifting, according to court records. He entered not guilty pleas in both cases.

The hearing regarding Lopez's bond is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday in Aztec district court.

Hearings to hold defendants without bond are a new step in the pretrial detention and release process included in procedural rules issued by the New Mexico Supreme Court this summer.

The procedural rules were enacted after the approval of a constitutional amendment that was on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

The rules allow judges to detain defendants who are considered dangerous to the public without bond and grant pretrial release to defendants who are deemed to pose no risk to the community or no flight risk.

It's up to the DA's Office to provide clear and convincing evidence during the hearing to show there are no conditions of release for Lopez that will protect the community, O'Brien said.

The hearing could include testimony from the officers or deputies involved in Lopez's pending cases and information on his criminal history, according to O'Brien.

O'Brien described the work involved in holding a hearing and presenting evidence to hold a defendant without bond as a significant burden on the DA's Office, the courts and law enforcement.

"It takes away from other duties that we all have," O'Brien said.

Lopez was incarcerated Friday afternoon at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a no-bond hold.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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