Dustin Bingham enters the First Judicial District Courtroom Monday afternoon for arraignment. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna, right, chats with Deputy District Attorney Michael Nunez Monday prior to the arraignment of Dustin Bingham. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Dustin Bingham was remanded to custody and held without bond following his arraignment Monday before First Judicial District Judge T. Glenn Ellington on five charges involving criminal sexual contact with minors.
Bingham’s attorney Stephen D. Aarons notified Judge Ellington of Bingham’s intention to peremptorily challenge him from hearing the case. Following a reading of the charges and possible penalties by Deputy District Attorney Michael Nunez, Aarons said that for the purpose of Monday’s hearing, Bingham would be pleading not guilty to the charges.
A plea agreement has been signed by Bingham but the Court Clerk’s Office reportedly refused to file it until it has been signed by a judge. Judge Ellington could not sign the agreement because of Bingham’s intent to excuse him from the case. The Court Clerk is expected to assign the case to Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer who will set a date for a plea hearing. Aarons has 15 days in which to file the excusal of Judge Ellington.
The charges, which involve three victims under the age of 18 include:
- Count 1: Criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree (child under 13) unclothed;
- Count 2: Criminal sexual contact of a minor in the third degree (child under 13) clothed;
- Count 3: Criminal sexual contact of a minor in the fourth degree;
- Count 4: Child solicitation by electronic communication device; and
- Count 5: Sexual exploitation of children (possession).
The five charges involve three victims under the age of 18 with one being 12 or younger. If convicted of all five charges, Bingham could face more than 25 years in prison.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Nunez. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Judge Ellington ruled May 12 that Bingham remain in custody pending trial after finding that he posed a danger to the community in general and particularly to others involved in the case and that there were no conditions of release that would guarantee their safety.
Bingham has been incarcerated in the Rio Arriba County Detention Center in Tierra Amarilla since his May 3 arrest for safety reasons. He is a former Santa Fe Sheriff’s Deputy and Los Alamos County Detention Officer.