Co-op assault case settled

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A San Antonio man was fined $500 and given 180 days of unsupervised probation as the result of an incident that took place in May of 2011.

Xavier Ortiz, 66, pled no contest to misdemeanor assault and was ordered to pay the suspended fine after he became verbally abusive and used offensive language toward Socorro Electric Co-op trustee Charlie Wagner on May 18, 2011.

The incident occurred in the downstairs hallway at the Socorro County Courthouse just after a judge had resolved a lawsuit under which the co-op board had sued it’s member-owners in an effort to block transparency laws. The board was ordered to abide by sunshine laws regarding the Open Meetings Act and the Inspection of Public Records Act, all of which the co-op reform board viewed as a victory.

According to a police report, Socorro police officer Victor Chavez was dispatched to the scene around noon that day in reference to a verbal argument. Ortiz was reportedly being escorted out of the building and stated he was upset with Wagner, and Wagner stated that Ortiz was upset with him due to the way the meeting transpired. Wagner told police that Ortiz began to verbally abuse him, using offensive language and that when he attempted to walk away Ortiz followed him and continued with the verbally abusive behavior.

According to case history, over the course of the past year Socorro Magistrate Court granted three continuances and a motion of competency determination was filed on behalf of the defendant. The defendant was deemed competent on July 19 of this year and a jury trial demanded the next day. On Aug. 13, Ortiz pled no contest and was adjudged guilty. He had originally pled not guilty to the charges.

In addition to the fine and unsupervised probation, Ortiz was ordered to have no contact with the victim or anyone else who testified in the case.

Wagner is currently involved in a cross-suit stemming from an original June 2010 filing in which the retirement of capital patronage and a 2010 forensic audit are being questioned.