DA held in contempt for skipping hearing amid COVID-19 rules

March 27, 2020 GMT

TUCUMCARI, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico district attorney says he was held in contempt of court after he skipped a hearing to follow COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The Albuquerque Journal reports state District Judge Lisa Riley in Carlsbad held Quay County District Attorney Timothy Rose in contempt when he failed to show up to a case 250 miles away.

Rose had agreed to take on a case in the 5th Judicial District, which prosecutors there were unable to accept because of a conflict of interest.


The case was set for a disposition hearing in Carlsbad on March 16, and because he is based nearly 250 miles away in Tucumcari, Rose asked Riley for permission to call into the hearing. That request was denied.

Rose then filed a second motion asking to appear by phone, this time pointing out the state Supreme Court’s new directives regarding the virus. It was also denied.

The hearing was held without a prosecutor, and the judge reset it for the next morning after the defense raised new requests. This time, the prosecutor received permission to attend by phone. But after the hearing, the judge ordered him to pay a $250 fine, finding him in contempt for failing to appear.

Rose says the order conflicts with the Supreme Court’s directives.