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News Link • Criminal Justice System

Child Abuse Charges Dropped Against New Mexico "Jihadis" After Local DA Screws Up

• by Tyler Durdan

After Judge Sarah Backus recused herself from the case, District Judge Emilio Chavez was forced to drop the charges against Lucas Morton, Subhanna Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj after the state failed to indict them within a 10-day window, forcing the frustrated judge to admonish the DA for placing him in such a position. 

"The rule for dismissal without prejudice reads if the preliminary hearing is not held within the time of this rule, the court shall dismiss the case without prejudice and discharge the defendants," Judge Emilio Chavez said. 

Meanwhile, the DA didn't even show up for the hearing. 

Another Taos County judge called out the DA for failing to even schedule a preliminary hearing in the case. 

"There was no excuse and no reason why the District Attorney's office could not have requested these preliminary hearings. I don't know if they are overworked or they don't have enough people at their office. I don't see the district attorney here or the chief deputy district attorney, but it is disturbing to me that the district attorney would put this court in that kind of a situation," said Judge Jeff McCelroy.

He added that the case was "a situation where the court is being caught between very public, very shocking information and a complete failure to follow proper procedures in prosecuting the case."

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