State Supreme Court listens to arguments in former state official’s corruption case

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state’s highest court will now decide if it should reinstate a punishment in one of New Mexico’s highest-profile public corruption cases. The former tax and revenue secretary was found guilty by a jury, and then sentenced for stealing thousands of dollars, but her convictions were later vacated.

This case comes down to law around the statute of limitations. Former Tax and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla argued the state took too long to pursue charges against her. While the state said the charges were filed within the proper timeframe.

A jury found Padilla guilty in 2021 of stealing $25,000 from a client while acting as tax and revenue secretary under former Governor Susana Martinez.

However, her convictions were overturned last year after the state court of appeals found prosecutors violated the statute of limitations. In 2018, prior Attorney General Hector Balderas filed the charges first in Santa Fe which ended up being the wrong district court.

That led to a delay in the charges being re-filed in a different district court. The AG’s office argued the statute of limitations was suspended when the charges were first filed. Padilla’s attorneys disagree and argue that state law doesn’t allow for a pause of the statute of limitations in this case.

Justices did not make a decision in the case Tuesday and there’s no word on when exactly they could make a ruling.

Padilla originally faced up to 18 years in prison but was sentenced to just five years of probation. She was still serving that sentence when her convictions were vacated.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KRQE NEWS 13 - Breaking News, Albuquerque News, New Mexico News, Weather, and Videos.