The jury delivers the verdict

Michael Travesser / Wayne Bent at sunset

Verdict in the Wayne Bent Trial - December 15, 2009.

Judge Baca: Alright. We are on the record on December fifteenth, two thousand eight, in the matter of State of New Mexico versus Wayne Bent. We are back in session in Taos County for continued jury deliberation. The jury, I’m told, is all assembled in the jury room and ready to continue their deliberations. Are there any matters that need to be brought up by the State at this point in time?

Tomas Benevidez: Not from the State, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Ok. By the Defense?

Ms. Montoya: No, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Alright. Then what I intend to do is bring in the jury and make sure they’re all assembled, and then pretty quickly excuse them to continue their deliberations. Alright. So please rise for the jury.

Jury enters the courtroom.

Judge Baca: Alright, you may be seated. Thank you.

Well good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back. I hope you all had a restful weekend, a good weekend. Ah... we’re ready to continue with your deliberations this morning. I just wanted to verify that we did, in fact, have all twelve of you here. It won’t take more than thirty seconds for you guys to be out here and send you right back in. I hope that no one approached you, that you didn’t discuss this case with anyone and that you didn’t continue your deliberation, except for today.

So at this point in time, what I intend to do, is to put you right back in, ask you to go back into the room, and continue your deliberations. If you have questions about anything, please write them down, sign them. The foreperson, you should have a foreperson now, the foreperson should sign and date the question, provide it to the bailiff. The bailiff will get it to me. I’ll consult with counsel and we’ll provide a response if we can. Alright. There are things that we can provide responses to and things that we can’t. Alright, then, at this point in time, I’ll allow you all to retire to continue your deliberations.

All rise for the jury.

Judge Baca: Alright. You may be seated. And we are in recess until we hear further from the jury. Thank you.

Court has now resumed later that same day.

Judge Baca: Alright. Please be seated. Let’s go on the record then. We’ve been on the record? Alright, ladies and gentlemen, we’re told that there was a verdict. The foreperson has the forms. Is that you, Juror C? (name redacted for transcript) Did I say your name correctly? Would you hand it to the bailiff? Ok. Alright. I’ll hand the verdicts to the Clerk and the Clerk, would you please announce the verdicts.

Clerk: State of New Mexico, County of Taos, District Court, State of New Mexico versus Wayne Bent. We find the defendant Wayne Bent, “not guilty,” of Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor as charged in Count One.

We find the defendant Wayne Bent, “guilty,” of Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor as charged in Count Two.

We find the defendant Wayne Bent, “guilty,” of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor as charged in Count Three.

We find the defendant Wayne Bent, “guilty,” of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor as charged in Count Four.

Judge Baca: Alright, thank you. Alright, is there any matter that wishes to be raised at this point in time by the State, before I excuse the jury?

Emilio Chavez: Not at this time, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Ok. On behalf of the defense?

Ms. Montoya: I would like to have the jury polled, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Alright. The Defense has asked to have a polling of the jury. So what I will ask you, each one of you, I’ll just go from first row to the end, and to the second row.

An inaudible question is asked to the judge, regarding the polling of the jury. Based on the judge's response, the question most likely was, perhaps, "Do we have to be polled?"

Judge Baca: It’s required by law, so I have to, and I will ask you, “Is this your verdict?” And you will answer, “Yes,” or “No.” Alright, that’s it.

Another inaudible question is asked to Judge Baca, evidently, from a juror. Based on the judge's response, the question was, perhaps, "Do we tell how (or why) we came to the decision?"

Judge Baca: No, just your verdict. That’s all we are interested in at this point in time.

Transcriber's note: Names of the jurors have been redacted for this transcript. They are referred to by letters A through L (as "Juror A," etc). These letters do not relate to any of the jurors actual first or last names.

Judge Baca: Alright. So, let me stand. Let me see if I have the names. I guess I have to start from the back row. Is that Juror A? Is this your verdict?

Juror A: Yes.

Judge Baca: Juror B, is this your verdict?

Juror B: Yes.

Judge Baca: Juror C, is this your verdict?

Juror C: Yes.

Judge Baca: Then Juror D, is this your verdict?

Juror D: Yes.

Judge Baca: Juror E, is this your verdict?

Juror D: Yes.

Judge Baca: Juror F, is this your verdict?

Juror F: Yes.

Judge Baca: Juror G, is this your verdict?

Juror G: Yes.

Judge Baca: Juror H, is this your verdict?

Juror H: Yes.

Judge Baca: Juror I, is this your verdict?

Juror I: Yes.

Judge Baca: Juror J, is this your verdict?

Juror J: Yes.

Judge Baca: Juror K, is this your verdict?

Juror K: Yes.

Judge Baca: And Juror L, is this your verdict?

Juror L: Yes.

Judge Baca: Alright. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Anything, at this point in time, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for your service. The Clerk has told me that you are done with your service for the rest of this term. Is that correct? So you will be excused permanently as soon as you leave here today. Again, thank you for your time, your attention and your efforts in this matter. Once you’re excused, I would ask that you gather your things and leave the courthouse as soon as possible. I intend to keep the general public here until I know that you’re gone from the courthouse. Alright. Members of the public, including the media, may want to approach you and discuss your deliberations and other things connected to this case. They can now approach you and discuss these matters with you, but it’s up to you as to whether or not you wish to discuss them or not. If you say, “No,” no means no. If you wish to discuss them you can. Alright. And if you say, "No, "and they persist, let me or the court staff know and we’ll take care of the issue. Alright. Again, thank you very much for your service to the people of the State of New Mexico. And with that, you are excused.

Please rise for the jury.

Jury leaves the courtroom.

Judge Baca: Alright. Please have a seat. Alright, I’m interested in the position of the parties with respect to Conditions of Release or Revocation of Conditions of Release. Let me hear from the State.

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, we would ask that the Conditions of Release be revoked and that the Defendant be held 'til sentencing. My understanding is you want to have sentencing on the twenty-ninth?

Judge Baca: I’d like to have the sentencing as soon as possible. It might be the twenty-ninth, a day that I’m looking at.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok.

Judge Baca: So what is the concern of the State at this point in time?

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, the concern is for the safety right now of the defendant, as well as just what is going on with the two victims in this case or actually the one victim. We would ask, actually both victims, we would ask that, that there continue to be, if the Court does not hold them in detention, we would ask there still be no contact until sentencing.

Judge Baca: Alright. Thank you.

Tomas Benevidez: Except for... your Honor, we’ll take care of that. We’d like to approach and talk to you about one other issue after you made a decision on this.

Judge Baca: Alright.

Ms. Montoya?

Ms. Montoya: Your Honor, we had previously mentioned to the court that we would like to have a pre-sentencing evaluation done and we had already cleared with Dr. Seigel to have time next week to do that so I would ask that he remain on Conditions of Release, so that he can travel to Santa Fe to have that evaluation done, so that Dr. Seigel can prepare a sentencing report. He is not a flight risk, your Honor, and so we would ask that of the Court.

Judge Baca: My concern is a couple of concerns. First of all, with respect to, I think it’s L.S., it seems that there was some contact with her during the course of this trial, although it appeared that count one is relative to her, there is still a conviction that involves her, with the Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. If I do continue him on Conditions of Release, absolutely no contact with L.S.

Ms. Montoya: We understand that your Honor, and I would tell the Court, the contact that occurred was after the case went to the jury. Her father was out in the courtyard and gave permission for her to approach Mr. Bent. Otherwise, he did not approach her and she has been allowed contact with other members, but they will understand that we can have no contact now with her until this case is disposed of in its entirety.

Judge Baca: Alright. And then the second is, I’m concerned that he might be a flight risk at this point in time. Talk to me about his connections. Is he going to continue to live on the land?

Ms. Montoya: Yes, sir.

Judge Baca: What are the plans for the next two weeks?

Ms. Montoya: Yes sir. That’s his home. That’s where he’s comfortable and he comes in contact with no members of the public, certainly, because it is in a far off area and he does not wish at this point to have contact with the public. So we would ask that he just be allowed to remain there on the same conditions where he remains on the land. The previous conditions were that he would remain on the land from six p.m. until six a.m. every day and if the Court wanted to extend that to twenty-four hours, with the exception of going for his evaluation or to meet with his attorney, he would agree to that.

Judge Baca: Alright. Ok, thank you. Anything the State wishes to add?

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, may we approach at this point?

Judge Baca: Yes.

Sidebar - Sidebar discussions are between the attorneys and the judge and are not able to be heard by others in the courtroom

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, Donald Gallegos promised L.S., if it was alright with her parents, that she, if we asked the court permission, if she just be allowed a five minute contact with Mr. Bent. And that’s just the reason that why asked for approach. I don’t think that needs to be made aware, public, regardless of the Court’s decision. If the Court would allow, based on the promise of the district attorney, if Mr. Bent wants that, to meet with her for five minutes.

Your Honor, there is one other issue on that, there is a, even though Mr. Bent has not said that he’s going to harm himself, he told me personally, he did make some statements that if he were held in custody that he’d go on a hunger strike again. I’m concerned about his health for that reason. The other thing is, there is another group in South America that has contact with this group and we are concerned about the issue of flight risk because of that group.

Ms. Montoya: But he doesn’t have a passport. He can’t go anywhere.

Judge Baca: Thank you.

End of Sidebar

Judge Baca: Alright. In this matter, the court will continue the release of Mr. Bent. He will be on house arrest and subject only to leaving the property that is Strong...

Ms. Montoya: City.

Judge Baca: ...Strong City, to meet with his counsel or to participate in this pre-sentence report. Otherwise, he will remain on that property and I want access by probation or law enforcement, to check on him, unannounced to him, at random. Because I want to make sure that you’re there and that you don’t leave. Alright. As well, there will be absolutely no contact between yourself and A.S. or L.S. or members of your church, pending the disposition of this case.

I will order the Pre-sentence Report be done as quickly as possible. The parties indicate that the Adult's Probation or Parole may be able to do that and I think the defense has something that they're gonna do on the defendant’s behalf.

Other than that, he will follow the other conditions of release that have been previously ordered. I would ask that upon conclusion of this hearing today that Mr. Bent, and the people from Strong City, get together and hopefully leave the courthouse as quickly as possible, so that it doesn’t get out of control here. What I will do is, I will, upon the journey, the courtroom, allow one side of the courtroom to clear and leave. This will be this side to my right. You all will leave. Once you leave, then I’ll allow the other side of the courtroom to leave and then lastly, Mr. Bent, you’ll be allowed to leave.

Alright, any questions about any procedures, we’re going to follow?

Tomas Benevidez: Not from the State of New Mexico, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Ok. And on behalf of the Defense?

Ms. Montoya: Might we approach, one more time?

Judge Baca: Yes.

Sidebar -- only able to be heard by the judge and the attorneys

Ms. Montoya: Can we have Mr. Bent and Healed meet in the jury room? And then, when he leaves, he can go out that side door and avoid the media. How will you let her know to do that?

Tomas Benevidez: I’m going to go speak with her parents and make sure that that’s ok with her parents.

Ms. Montoya: Ok.

Judge Baca: Alright.

Sidebar is concluded

Judge Baca: Alright then, is there anything further on behalf of the State?

Tomas Benevidez: Not from the State, your Honor.

Judge Baca: On behalf of the Defendant?

Ms. Montoya: No, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Then, be there nothing further, this matter is adjourned and we’ll follow that procedure. We’ll allow the people on this side of the room to leave the courthouse at this time.

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