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State v. Quintana

Court of Appeals of New Mexico

February 5, 2019

STATE OF NEW MEXICO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
RICKY QUINTANA, Defendant-Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF SAN MIGUEL COUNTY Gerald E. Baca, District Judge

          Hector H. Balderas, Attorney General Maha Khoury, Assistant Attorney General Santa Fe, NM for Appellee

          Bennett J. Baur, Chief Public Defender Nina Lalevic, Assistant Public Defender J.K. Theodosia Johnson, Assistant Public Defender Santa Fe, NM for Appellant

          OPINION

          JULIE M. VANZI, JUDGE

         {¶1} The unopposed motion for publication filed by the State was granted. The Memorandum Opinion filed in this case on January 14, 2019, is withdrawn and this Formal Opinion is substituted in its place.

         {¶2} Defendant Ricky Quintana appeals the district court's order of commitment on the ground that the district court improperly extended the period of commitment based on aggravating circumstances from fifteen years to twenty years. We affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         The Facts Leading to Appeal

         {¶3} Michael Grube (Decedent) was found dead on the floor of Defendant's residence. The State and Defendant stipulated that "Defendant... took the life of Michael Grube on or about April 11, 2003, and amputated Mr. Grube's penis, scrotum and testes." Defendant was charged with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence.

         {¶4} Roughly three years later, in June 2006, the parties stipulated that (1) Defendant was incompetent to stand trial and dangerous; (2) there was not a substantial probability that he would attain competency within a reasonable period of time; (3) there was clear and convincing evidence that he committed second degree murder; (4) aggravating circumstances existed; and (5) the court should enter an order of commitment for a period not to exceed eighteen years-a term based on the fifteen-year sentence for second-degree murder with an additional three years for aggravated circumstances. Defendant has been housed at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute from the date of arrest to the present.

         {¶5} Approximately eight years later, Defendant was found competent to proceed to trial. However, shortly before trial was to begin, questions about Defendant's competency to stand trial were raised during a motion hearing. The district court vacated the trial setting and instead held an evidentiary hearing in April 2016 pursuant to NMSA 1978, Section 31-9-1.5 (1999) to determine the sufficiency of the evidence for the two charges in this case: an open count of murder and tampering with evidence. After the hearing, the parties stipulated that the evidence was clear and convincing that Defendant had committed the crime of second-degree murder.

         {¶6} At a commitment hearing in February 2017, the district court took additional evidence regarding mitigating and aggravating circumstances. Based on evidence at the April 2016 and February 2017 hearings, the district court found that

4. The Defendant committed the murder of [Decedent] with extreme viciousness and brutality, as evidenced by testimony presented at the evidentiary hearing on April 11th, 2016 and the commitment hearing on February 24th, 2017; to include the near decapitation of the body, the removal of the genitals, the stabbing of the anus, as well as the numerous wounds to [Decedent]'s head and torso;
6. ... Defendant committed the murder of [Decedent] while in a state of psychosis as evidenced by expert testimony at the evidentiary hearing on April 11th, 2016 and the commitment hearing on February 24th, 2017. Based on evidence at those same hearings, ... Defendant had also previously attacked his brother while in a state of psychosis. If released without supervision, there is a danger that ... Defendant would be ...

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