The Communications division strives to facilitate contact between the public and their “lawyer” Attorney General King. It is this office’s practice to provide as much information as possible about issues and legal cases being handled by the Attorney General’s office. The statutory responsibilities of the office are many and wide-ranging and thus so are the requests for information from the public. The Communications staff handles daily requests for information, clarification,opinions and help.
Get the latest news about the activities of New Mexico Attorney General's office.
Governor Richardson, Attorney General King Blast EPA for Violating Clean Air Act in Fast Tracking Desert Rock Permit
Thursday, June 19, 2008
(SANTA FE) New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Attorney General Gary King today criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating the federal Clean Air Act by fast tracking a permit for the proposed Desert Rock coal fired-power plant without completing the proper reviews on important air pollution issues.
Governor Richardson and Attorney General King assert in their letter that EPA’s recent proposal to expedite the permitting decision for the proposed plant without conducting required environmental analyses of hazardous air pollutants could have severe negative impacts on air quality for New Mexicans and others in the region. The proposed plant, under the jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation, would be in northwestNew Mexico.
"EPA is overlooking air quality protections in federal law by fast tracking this permit,” Governor Richardson said. “This is a grave mistake. The children of northwesternNew Mexico should not have to be exposed to higher levels of mercury and lead in the air they breathe. New Mexico and the nation must be making advances toward new clean technologies for electricity rather than continuing to build the dirty coal plants of yesterday.”
Governor Richardson has been vocal in his opposition to the proposed plant because of well-documented detrimental impacts from coal fired power plants on human health, especially on children.
“The Clean Air Act is very clear in spelling out what the EPA must do to protect people from hazardous power plant emissions,” said Attorney General King. “Because EPA listed coal-fired power plants as a major source of hazardous air pollutants, we are on solid legal ground to request that the EPA do what the law says.”
The EPA must do a complete and thorough analysis before reaching any conclusions on this air permit, the joint letter states. They also criticize EPA for failing to abide by the Clean Air Act, which prohibits the construction of new power plants without a prior EPA maximum achievable control technology determination for the emission of hazardous air pollutants. In addition to providing that determination, EPA is also required by law to identify a procedure it will follow related to that process.
EPA, which has not made a MACT determination in this case, previously issued a rule that sought to avoid that requirement for power plants altogether. However, New Mexico along with other states recently prevailed in overturning EPA’s attempted roll back in a federal lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The letter also expresses “serious concerns about the environmental impacts of constructing Desert Rock in a region already impaired by other large coal-fired power plants.”
Mercury contamination from Desert Rock poses great threats to the health of New Mexico’s children and to local waterways. Mercury, a known neurotoxin which contributes to learning disabilities in children, also pollutes nearly every reservoir inNew Mexico with high levels of contamination.
Desert Rock is expected to emit substantial amounts of mercury, arsenic, lead, dioxins, and other hazardous air pollutants, including approximately 166 tons per year of hydrogen chloride and 13.3 tons per year of hydrogen fluoride.
Governor Richardson in recent months directed New Mexico Environment Secretary Ron Curry to meet with the Navajo Nation related to the state’s issues with the plant.
The Environment Department determined the proposed facility will adversely impact air quality, exacerbate existing environmental problems and negatively impact scarce surface and ground water resources. Also, the technology as proposed by Sithe Global refuses to consider real technological advances in the area of combating global climate change. The Environment Department has concerns that Sithe's investment in plant planning is outdated without taking into account the needs of climate change policy.
The estimated 12 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted each year from the Desert Rock Energy Facility would increase New Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 15 percent.
AG’s Office Secures Guilty Plea in Theft
from Disabled Woman
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
(CARLSBAD)…In New Mexico Magistrate Court, defendant Denise Escareño pled guilty to one count of exploitation for the theft of a check belonging to a developmentally disabled resident of an assisted living home operated by CARC, Inc. Escareño, age 25, worked as a caregiver at the home before being identified as a suspect in the theft.
The case was investigated by personnel from the Medicaid Fraud and Elder Abuse Division of the New Mexico Attorney General's Office. The AG staff included special agent Jim Stokes and Assistant Attorney General Patrick McNertney.
Ms. Escareño, who cashed the stolen check at a Carlsbad bank, was placed on supervised probation for 360 days by Magistrate Richard Van Dyke and ordered to repay the $500 she had taken.
The Eddy County District Attorney's Office assisted the Attorney General's Office with logistical support throughout this prosecution.
AG: Parents…Protect Your Kids Online
Friday, June 13, 2008
(ALBUQUERQUE)--- 13-year old Julie kissed her brothers goodnight just before getting into 56-year old Tom’s truck and heading to Reno. Julie met her kidnapper Tom on the Internet. Tom was sent to jail for 25 years. This type of story repeats itself all too often.
By U.S. Senate proclamation, June is National Internet Safety Month. In observance, New Mexico Attorney General Gary K. King’s office is reinforcing the importance of protecting our state’s children from such Internet crimes as sexual predation, cyber-bullying, identity theft and computer viruses.
More than half a million children under age 18 live in New Mexico. The following tips are offered to help keep youth safe while online.
The family computer should be placed in a common room in the home. This allows parents or other responsible adults to monitor computer activity. Since children may have access to computers outside the home, it is important to set rules for using the Internet. Report the following to Cybertipline.com or 1-800-843-5678:
1. Your child receives inappropriate images via email, IM or cell phone or
is asked to meet in-person someone they only know online;
2. Experiences cyber-bullying online or on their cell phone.
3. Keep in mind, personal computers are not the only way kids can live chat with people they do not know. Game consoles are sometimes connected to the Internet for live chat with friends and strangers while game playing.
4. Know your children’s online names and passwords.
5. Blocking software can make the Internet safer for children. Some options include blocking chat rooms and downloads; filtering specific web sites; recording users keystrokes and more.
More tips are available in our Internet Safety Guide, available at Attorney General’s Office locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces or visit our Web site at nmag.gov and click on “Publications.”
AG King Gets an “A” for Foreclosure Crisis Efforts...ACORN Group Rates AGs Nationally
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
(SANTA FE)---Attorney General Gary King today received word that his office received an “A” rating for efforts to address the effects in New Mexico of the mortgage foreclosure crisis being experienced in some parts of the country.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) graded state attorneys general for how they have responded to emerging foreclosure problems in their respective states.
“I’m pleased to be recognized with a good grade. We were happy to meet with ACORN to discuss the foreclosure crisis and outline our thoughts for supporting legislation that protects consumers from predatory lending practices that have contributed to the crisis,” says Attorney General King. “We will continue to advocate for stronger consumer protection laws in New Mexico that can help prevent and mitigate the effects of foreclosure.”
For the time being it seems that New Mexico has not experienced the same levels of foreclosures that other states have been reporting. However, anecdotal information does indicate that foreclosures in the state have increased.
Court Rules Lawyer Practicing Without a License... Doña Ana County Clients Contracts Void
Monday, June 09, 2008
(LAS CRUCES)…District Judge Robert E. Robles today granted partial summary judgment in a case brought by former clients against Michael J. Gopin, an attorney doing business in Doña Ana County. These consumers are individually represented by Kyle W. Gesswein, of Las Cruces. Attorney General Gary King’s Office recently joined this case seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties.
The court’s ruling states that Gopin is unauthorized to practice law in the state; that his client fee structure violates the Rules of Professional Conduct for the legal practice in New Mexico; the advertising of his law firm’s services violate the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act; and his plaintiff-clients’ contracts along with any similar contracts are void.
The Attorney General’s Office filed a six count complaint against Gopin, d.b.a. Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, last month alleging the defendant was violating the Unfair Practices Act by his acts and omissions and misleading statements; was unlicensed to practice in New Mexico; used a chiropractor to help solicit business; that Gopin’s retainer agreement with clients was an unconscionable trade practice; the contract was void due to unlawful solicitation; and that Gopin should be prohibited from advertising his law firm’s services in New Mexico.
Today’s partial summary judgment addressed some, but not all of the pending issues in this case.
Consumer Protection Division Director Karen Meyers says, “Today’s order is very significant but we are still in litigation and the AGO will be pursuing further relief in this case.”
Child Predator Pleads Guilty
Friday, May 30, 2008
(ALBUQUERQUE)--- Twenty-one year old Travis Brown pled guilty today in a Bernalillo County District Courtroom to sexual exploitation charges brought against him by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King’s Office.
Brown pled guilty to attempted sexual exploitation of a child (3rd degree felony) and child solicitation by computer (4th degree felony). He faces a maximum of 4-and-a-half years in prison with a cap of 18 months at initial sentencing and mandatory sex offender registration.
For several months, Brown engaged an investigator from the AG’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit, posing as a 12 year old girl, in conversation over the Internet. Brown asked the “girl” to masturbate, take pictures of herself and email the photos to him.
Brown is scheduled to be sentenced August 13, 2008 at 1:30 pm.
Suspected Internet Sex Predator Arrested...Quick Action by AG’s Special Agents
Friday, May 23, 2008
(SOCORRO)---Special agents from Attorney General Gary King’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) unit arrested a Socorro man last night on charges of soliciting a 16-year-old Louisiana girl for sex on the Internet.
An investigator from the Louisiana Attorney General’s office contacted ICAC Task Force agents in Albuquerque on Wednesday of this week asking for assistance in locating Raymond Juricich in Socorro. Special Agents from AG King’s office, provided with a copy of the arrest warrant, affidavit and authorization for extradition, located and took Juricich into custody shortly after 8pm last evening. Juricich was transported to the Socorro detention center where he was booked and later waived extradition.
Louisiana AG Investigator Randall Gohn was contacted by the mother of a Louisiana 16-year-old female, who provided evidence that a suspect residing in New Mexico was soliciting her daughter for sex over the Internet. In Louisiana, it is a felony to use the Internet to solicit sex from a minor under the age of 17.
Juricich is known to have used the following screen names on the Internet:“nightfall_of_mandkind” and “nightfall_of_mankin” If anyone believes they have been in contact with a person using these names, please contact Special Agent Lois Kinch with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office at 505-222-9000.
Attorney General King, contacted about the arrest in Europe, where he addressed the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, said committee members told him they felt the ICAC Task Force in New Mexico was one of the best programs for protection of children in the United States.