Longtime Santa Fe District Judge George Anaya Jr. was partially convicted, according to the New Mexico Supreme Court, for arranging for a violent criminal to be released from prison on a Saturday, bypassing the prosecutor’s office and breaking the court record .
The Supreme Court accepted an agreement and consent on disciplinary action between the Judicial Standards Commission and Anaya in December. As part of the deal, Anaya admitted that there was sufficient evidence of willful misconduct in the office. According to the Supreme Court, this is his first such violation.
“I made a mistake and I took responsibility for it,” said Anaya on Wednesday. “I’ve learned from it and I’m moving forward.” The judge, who previously said he would not be re-elected, declined to comment.
According to a court opinion, on April 3, 2020, a Friday, Anaya received a cell phone call from the father of Danielle Gallegos, who was arrested that day and charged with multiple crimes. Anaya received a second call the next day from her father, Fernando Gallegos, and then signed an order to release Danielle Gallegos pending her trial.
The Magistrate Court protocols require perpetrators to remain in custody until the next working day to allow prosecutors to review charges and make decisions. Anaya took this chance from them, the court report says.
According to online court records, Danielle Gallegos, 31, was arrested on suspicion of trafficking in controlled substances on two counts, both first-rate second-degree offenses; Child abuse without death or grievous bodily harm, criminal sexual penetration and aggravated gun violence, all third-degree crimes; Conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with a lethal weapon, commit grievous bodily harm with a lethal weapon, conspiracy, to commit grievous bodily harm with a lethal weapon and possession of a controlled substance, all fourth-degree crimes; and delivery or manufacture of drug paraphernalia, an administrative offense. The status of the case was unclear in the court records.
The Supreme Court ruling says Anaya should have interrupted Fernando Gallegos during the first call to say the contact was improper and then tell him to contact a lawyer or his daughter to file a motion. It adds that Anaya should have recognized Fernando Gallegos’ phone number when he called on Saturday and didn’t pick up the phone – and after answering, he should have said he couldn’t speak about the case without the prosecutor’s presence , then he ended the call. Anaya should have informed the prosecutor about both calls, the statement said.
Specifically, according to a court opinion, Anaya violated the code of conduct rules on compliance with the law, to promote trust in the judiciary, to avoid external influences on judicial behavior, to cooperate with others in the administration of court transactions, to guarantee the right to be heard and to be heard Avoiding executions parte (only one-way) communication.
The reprimand amounts to a public condemnation of actions and “serves as an assurance to the public that inappropriate legal behavior will not be tolerated,” according to the judgment of the court.
Anaya, a Democrat, was elected to court in 1986 and served two four-year terms until he lost a 1994 primary to Richard “Buzzy” Padilla. Anaya lost a second application for the seat in Division III to Padilla in 1998, but he won a special election for the position in Division II against Republican nominee Dennis Miller in 2000.