Attorneys for a Sandia Park man facing attempted murder charges in connection with a shooting during a public demonstration near Española in September are taking their request for bond release to the state attorney general’s office.

Ryan Martinez

Prosecutors in the case against Ryan Martinez were thwarted in their attempt last week to have First Judicial District Court Judge Jason Lidyard removed from the case, but procedurally it is not permitted after a party has requested the judge perform a discretionary act.

State prosecutors also are seeking additional penalties in the case by implementing a hate crime designation to the charges, according to court documents. In addition to the attempted murder charge, Martinez had been charged with aggravated battery.

In an appeal motion filed on Nov. 7, Martinez’s attorneys Marshall J. Ray and Nicole W. Moss claim that Martinez has been improperly barred from receiving bail.

“The detention order is not supported by substantial evidence that no release conditions will reasonably protect the safety of another person or the community,” the motion reads.

The appellate court has five days from the date of the appeal to either affirm the district court’s decision or order a response from the state. A decision from the appellate court is then due within five days of the date the response is due.

The appellate court can overturn the district court’s decision if it is determined to be “arbitrary, capricious, or reflects an abuse of discretion; (or) is not supported by substantial evidence,” according to New Mexico State Law.

And that speaks directly to Martinez’s case, the lawyers claim.

“Detention in this case was inappropriate,” the appeal reads. “It was arbitrary and capricious and unsupported by evidence of dangerousness.”

And in the pre-trial, public safety assessment, Martinez was given low potential for new criminal activity and failure to appear at risk, while recommending he be released on his own recognizance.

The hate crime designation, as well as a count of firearm enhancement, together could add as many as eight additional years imprisonment to the already more than 16 years Martinez is already facing.

“While we cannot offer prosecutors advice when it comes to charging decisions, we can allow them an attempt to prove this charge in court,” a spokesperson for Moss wrote in an email. “New Mexico is very clear as to its statute when it comes to a charge of this magnitude and ultimately it’s up to them to prove it. We are confident they cannot.”

Lidyard has set a tentative trial date of May 2024.

Martinez was arrested Sept. 28 following a shooting at the site where local officials had planned to re-install a statue of conquistador Juan de Oñate. Before the demonstration, officials had already decided against the installation of the controversial piece.

Jacob Johns, of Spokane, Washington, was seriously injured after he was struck by the one shot that was fired.

The appeal claims Johns and others at the site instigated the encounter that then turned violent.

When Martinez “attempted to approach the statue, he did not lay hands on anyone, draw any weapons or get in anyone’s face,” the appeal reads. “Rather, three large men, including Jacob Johns, tackled him, put him in a headlock, threw him down, rammed him against a divider wall, and punched him. Only when brutally attacked in this manner did Mr. Martinez draw a weapon – while fleeing – and fire one shot before escaping the scene.

Glen Rosales has been a freelance, feature and sports reporter for the Albuquerque Journal and independent news outlets. He is currently the editor of The Independent.

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