During an arraignment this morning, Magistrate Judge Pat Casados explains to defendant Steven C. Porter each of the 20 charges he is facing. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Steven C. Porter
With 20 drug-related counts filed against him, Steven C. Porter faced Los Alamos Magistrate Judge Pat Casados this morning during his arraignment at the Justice Center.
Casados read each charge out loud, detailed what each charge meant and asked porter if he understood each charge and the possible sentence and fine. Porter, 46, answered that he understood.
- Counts 1-3: Possession of a controlled substance, 4th degree felonies, each is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
- Counts 4-10: Possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanors, each is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
- Counts 11-13: Trafficking of a controlled substance, 2nd degree felonies, each is punishable by up to 9 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.
- Counts 14-20: Distribution of a controlled substance, 3rd degree felonies, each is punishable by up to 3 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
Casados explained to Porter his rights and asked if he intended to hire an attorney, which he said he did. She set his bond at $102,000 and detailed the conditions of release including ordering him to be fitted with an electronic monitoring device that limited his movement to the radius of his property.
Porter was arrested Sunday evening at the annual meeting of the Pajarito Acres Home Owners Association (PAHOA) and charged with the drug-related counts. He also is suspected of poisoning trees, slashing and imbedding screws in tires and other acts of vandalism against members of the PAHOA board after he lost a 2012 court battle. The judge in that case sided with the board and ordered Porter to remove an add-on porch that did not meet standards. Casados made it clear Monday that Porter is to avoid all contact with any alleged victims.
The judge asked Porter whether he had more than one firearm in his home.
“I take the fifth your honor,” Porter said.
She explained to him that in order to grant his bond, he must agree to the conditions of release and one of those conditions is that he not possess firearms – otherwise, he would need to stay in jail. Porter admitted to the judge that he has multiple guns as well as a lot of ammunition in his home.
“I am an ammunitions dealer – it’s my livelihood,” he said.
Casados ordered police to escort Porter, once he makes bond, to his Pajarito Acres home and confiscate his “many firearms.”
“Your honor, can I be assured all my firearms will be kept in good condition,” Porter asked.
Casados answered yes and ordered police to photograph each gun as well as inventory them and provide copies to Porter and to the court so everyone has a record.
“Can I keep my deer hunter muzzleloader,” Porter asked, adding that it’s not a gun. Casados said, “No – it’s a dangerous weapon and your conditions of release include not possessing a dangerous weapon.”
Casados also ordered police to gather up his ammunition and seal each box with police tape and store the boxes inside Porter’s garage.
“Police will make periodic, unannounced visits to check the boxes and make sure nothing is disturbed or missing,” Casados said, adding that he will be arrested and remain incarcerated until his trial is over if he violates any condition of his release.
She told him he will have two more hearings in her court – a status hearing and a preliminary hearing. At the status hearing, Porter will be asked one question, she said, and that is whether he has an attorney. She advised him that the status hearing will occur very quickly so he should get an attorney lined up soon.
The preliminary hearing is where the district attorney must convince the court beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed and that Porter likely committed that crime, Casados said. If that happens, then the case is moved up to District Court for trial.
“If you remain in jail, the D.A. has 10 business days to prepare for the preliminary hearing,” Casados told Porter. “If you bond out, then the D.A. has 60 days.”
Porter’s mother was in the courtroom this morning as he told the judge he intended to bond out of jail.