Dona Ana County
District Court of Dona Ana County
From the January 2011 Memorandum Opinion
Defendant Greg Collier was indicted on August 31, 2006, on one count of extreme cruelty to animals, a fourth-degree felony, in violation of NMSA 1978, Section 30-18-1(E) (2007). The indictment was based on an incident in February 2006 in which a colt Defendant was training died.
Defendant was tried twice and filed a motion to dismiss prior to the commencement of a third trial. At the first trial in March 2008, the jury was instructed on the charged felony offense, Section 30-18-1(E), extreme cruelty to animals. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, and the district court declared a mistrial. Defendant’s second trial took place in January 2009. After the close of evidence, the jury was again instructed on the extreme cruelty to animals charge. The district court—at the State’s request—also instructed the jury on a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals in violation of Section 30-18-1(B). The defense did not object to the instruction on the misdemeanor offense, and both charges went to the jury. The second trial jury found Defendant not guilty of felony extreme cruelty to animals and could not reach a unanimous verdict on misdemeanor cruelty to animals. The district court acquitted Defendant of the felony charge and declared a mistrial on the misdemeanor charge based on manifest necessity due to the hung jury. Defense counsel prepared the order on the verdict and noted that the State’s “power to retry . . . Defendant on the lesser included misdemeanor charge of [c]ruelty to [a]nimals upon which the mistrial was declared, is reserved.”
Following the second trial, the State sought to retry Defendant again on misdemeanor cruelty to animals. The third trial was set for July 2009. Prior to the commencement of trial, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations and double jeopardy grounds. In his motion, Defendant argued that he had been acquitted of the only crime for which he was ever charged, Section 30-18-1(E), extreme cruelty to animals. Defendant further contended that he had never been charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals, that the elements of such a charge are mutually exclusive of the felony charge, and as a result, the new prosecution of the misdemeanor charge was barred by the two-year statute of limitations. The district court agreed and granted the motion to dismiss on the grounds that: (1) the misdemeanor cruelty to animals is not a lesser included offense of extreme cruelty to animals, and (2) the State failed to commence prosecution on the misdemeanor within the two-year time period provided for by the statute of limitations. The State appeals.
View New Mexico Court of Appeals Decision
NM Supreme Court Rules – March 2013
Prosecutor Seeks Justice in Horse’s Training Death