----- Original Message ----- 
To: ; ; ;
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 5:19 AM
Subject: N.M. Judge: Killing Private Prison Officer Considered Crime Punishable by Death 

I sure hope I'm not reading more into this... but from what I am understanding its not ok for the inmates to beat and kill a guard, but yet we all know many inmates has been murdered by guards but yet that is there call for duty... something is wrong with this picture if you ask me.


N.M. Judge: Killing Private Prison Officer Considered Crime Punishable by Death 
Associated Press 

Killing a corrections officer in a private jail is punishable by death, a New Mexico judge ruled last week. 

Attorneys representing three inmates accused of killing Guadalupe County Correctional Facility guard Ralph Garcia during a 1999 uprising had asked a judge to eliminate the threat of the death penalty from the case. They had argued the death penalty didn't apply to slayings in a private prison. 

State District Judge Frank Allen Jr. recently tossed out those arguments, saying "there seems no question to this court" that Garcia was a peace officer under the law. 

New Mexico law provides for capital punishment in cases involving the murder of peace officers and prison workers. "Ralph Garcia's duties ... and risks differed in no significant way from correction officers or jailers in other state private correctional institutions in New Mexico," Allen said. 

The defense attorneys have appealed Allen's ruling to the state Supreme Court. 

Garcia was beaten and stabbed to death during a 3-hour uprising on Aug. 31, 1999. 

Fifteen inmates were charged in the case. But the three prosecutors are now trying to convict - Reis Lopez, Robert Young and David Sanchez - are believed to have actually carried out the killing, Assistant Attorney General Michael Cox said April 16. 

Lopez, Young and Sanchez are each charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, attempted murder, possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner, rioting and tampering with evidence. 

Guadalupe County prison deputy warden Tim Hatch said Allen's ruling is a "great victory" for the four privately financed and managed prisons that contract with the state Corrections Department and others to house prisoners in New Mexico. 

The possibility of paying "the ultimate price" for killing a corrections officer is a deterrent to prisoners, Hatch said. The threat of death "does make a person stop and think before they randomly act out," Hatch said. "We're very appreciative of the (ruling). We feel it is absolutely the right thing to do."