Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

UPDATED: Appeals Court Reinstates Charges Against PRC Member

SANTA FE — The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday reinstated criminal charges against Public Regulation Commission member Jerome Block Jr. for alleged misuse of public campaign funds in 2008.

The court also reinstated charges against Block’s father, Jerome Block Sr., who is a former member of the regulatory agency.

In a 3-0 decision, the court said Attorney General Gary King’s office had the power to bring charges against Block and his father although the secretary of state had not referred the case for prosecution. The secretary of state administers New Mexico’s campaign finance and election laws.

The younger Block is a Democrat who was elected to the commission in 2008 from a northern New Mexico district. He ran into trouble with the secretary of state and paid more than $21,000 in penalties for lying on a campaign finance report and misusing public funds.

The elder Block faced charges because he had helped prepare his son’s campaign finance reports.

A district court last year tossed out charges against the Blocks for alleged election law violations, but the Court of Appeals overturned that decision.

District Judge Michael Vigil had concluded that the secretary of state could impose fines or refer cases for criminal prosecution, but not both.

The Appeals Court disagreed, saying the secretary of state’s civil penalty “is not considered punishment for double jeopardy purposes and, thus, it does not preclude subsequent criminal prosecution for the same conduct against which the civil penalty was assessed.”

A lawyer for Public Regulation Commission member Block was out of the office and did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The younger Block also did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

A spokesman for King said the Attorney General’s Office was reviewing the ruling and had no immediate comment.

The younger Block is up for re-election next year but hasn’t announced whether he will run for another term.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Aug. 2, 2011 5:06 p.m.

By Barry Massey / The Associated Press

SANTA FE — The state Court of Appeals has reinstated criminal charges against Public Regulation Commission member Jerome Block Jr. for alleged misuse of public campaign funds in his 2008 election.

The court ruled Tuesday the Attorney General’s Office had the power to bring charges against Block and his father, Jerome Block Sr., although the secretary of state had not referred the case for prosecution.

The younger Block is a Democrat who was elected to the commission in 2008 from a northern New Mexico district. He got in trouble with the secretary of state and paid more than $21,000 in penalties for lying on a campaign finance report and misusing public funds.

A district court tossed out criminal charges against the Blocks for election law violations. The appeals court overturned that decision.

 

TOP |