U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico
(505) 346-7274
August 27, 2014

United States Files Motion to Dismiss Criminal Charges Against Thomas R. Rodella, Jr.

ALBUQUERQUE—This morning the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed an unopposed motion to dismiss the charges against Thomas R. Rodella, Jr., in the criminal case captioned United States v. Thomas R. Rodella and Thomas R. Rodella, Jr, 14-CR-2783 JB (DNM).

Thomas R. Rodella, Jr., and his father, Thomas R. Rodella, the Sheriff of Rio Arriba County, were indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 12, 2014. The two men were arrested by the FBI on Aug. 15, 2014.

The charges in the five-count indictment arise out of a March 11, 2014 incident occurring in Rio Arriba County, N.M., during which Sheriff Rodella and Thomas R. Rodella, Jr., allegedly engaged in the high-speed pursuit and unreasonable seizure of a victim identified as “M.T.” Count 1 of the Indictment charges the two men with participating in a conspiracy to violate the victim’s civil rights by subjecting him to an unreasonable seizure while acting under color of law. Count 2 charges them with subjecting the victim to an unreasonable seizure while acting under color of law and alleges that the offense against the victim involved the use of a dangerous weapon and resulted in bodily injury to the victim. Count 3 charges Sheriff Rodella with brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. Counts 4 and 5 charge Sheriff Rodella and Thomas R. Rodella, Jr., respectively, with making false statements in law enforcement reports regarding the events giving rise to charges in Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment.

The United States’ motion seeks dismissal of the charges against Thomas R. Rodella, Jr., based on information indicating that he has a medical condition that puts into doubt whether he has the cognitive ability to form the specific intent necessary to prove the charges against him beyond a reasonable doubt. The motion states that the United States learned about the medical condition after the indictment was filed and after Thomas R. Rodella, Jr., was arrested. The United States concluded that it was in the interests of justice to seek dismissal of the charges against Thomas R. Rodella, Jr., after conducting an investigation into his medical condition.

The United States is proceeding with the prosecution of the case against Sheriff Rodella, the trial of which is scheduled to begin on Sept. 22, 2014. The United States reiterates that charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.

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