New conviction, probation violation gets sex offender more than five years in prison

The defendant picked up 2020 case while on probation

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • James Sears Jr., 50, was sentenced to about five years and six months in the New Mexico Department of Corrections during a Dec. 7 court hearing in Aztec District Court.
  • San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien told The Daily Times Sears will be sent back to a state prison to serve out his time until sometime in May 2027.
  • For the 2020 case, Sears pleaded no contest on Oct. 8 to a fourth-degree felony count of failing to register as a sex offender.

FARMINGTON — A man with two convictions for possessing child sex abuse materials will serve about five and half years in prison as part of a probation violation and recent conviction for failing to register as a sex offender.

James Sears Jr., 50, was sentenced to about five years and six months in the New Mexico Department of Corrections during a Dec. 7 court hearing in Aztec District Court.

District Court Judge Daylene Marsh issued the ruling during a sentencing hearing for Sears’ most recent criminal case in 2020.

The hearing also tackled a 2017 case where he was convicted of a felony count of possession of visual medium of sexual exploitation and violated probation by being charged with the 2020 case.

Tyson Quail, Sears’ attorney, said in a statement him and his client believe the sentencing in both cases was fair and equitable.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien told The Daily Times Sears will be sent back to a state prison to serve out his sentence until sometime in May 2027.

The DA’s office needs to conduct extra calculations to determine the exact number of days Sears will serve, O'Brien said. 

Sears’ sentencing is a little more complicated given that he served time in prison for the conviction in the 2017 case, was released on probation and is being sent back again.

Sears got 18 months for 2020 criminal case

For the 2020 case, Sears pleaded no contest on Oct. 8 to a fourth-degree felony count of failing to register as a sex offender.

A fourth-degree felony count of possession of visual medium of sexual exploitation was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

He was accused of possessing a photo of child sex abuse materials on his phone on July 29, 2020, according to court documents.

James Sears Jr.

The failure to register as a sex offender charge was filed against Sears on Oct. 7, one day before his change of plea hearing and was not included in the original charging documents.

Judge Marsh gave Sears the maximum prison sentence of a year and six months for the failure to register conviction.

Sears gets credit for one year, fourth months and 9 days he has been held at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center since his July 29, 2020, arrest, O’Brien said.

Defendant got more prison time for probation violation

Sears picked up his second conviction for possessing child sex abuse materials on March 12, 2018, in the 2017 case, according to The Daily Times archives.

He was given an 11-year prison sentence with all but three years suspended. The defendant was discharged from a state prison on Sept. 30, 2019.

Judge Marsh sentenced Sears to the remainder of the 11-year prison term, minus credit for prison time already served and time for good behavior.  

Sears was ordered to be transported to the New Mexico Department of Corrections following his hearing.

More:Convicted sex offender accused in third child porn case

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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