New Dona Ana County district attorney ready to work
POSTED: Sunday, December 30, 2012 - 6:28pm
UPDATED: Sunday, December 30, 2012 - 6:30pm
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — District Attorney Mark D'Antonio said he's ready to get to work after taking the oath of office Friday at the Dona Ana County Government Center.
D'Antonio was sworn in as the new district attorney after defeating Amy Orlando in November.
"I'm going to make a pledge to the citizens of Dona Ana County not to let them down," D'Antonio said.
D'Antonio, a former FBI special agent, takes over for Orlando who served for two years after being appointed by Governor Susana Martinez when she won the governorship.
The transition into office has been a smooth one so far for D'Antonio. He credited the team he's built around him for the painless transition.
"They're hard workers and they're skilled lawyers and skilled prosecutors so I look forward to working with them," D'Antonio said of his staff. "I have no doubt they are going to do a great job."
D'Antonio named Paul Rubino as his chief deputy and will have a staff with plenty of experience featuring Heather Chavez, Pete Pineda and Jacinto Palomino.
Palomino, a former judge who lost his re-election bid in November, had been a judge in the Sunland Park scandal involving then mayor-elect Daniel Salinas.
Salinas was arrested three separate times charged with a total of 39 counts for crimes ranging from conspiracy, extortion, fraud and soliciting and receiving illegal kickbacks among other things.
D'Antonio doesn't expect delays in prosecuting those cases and said it's a top priority for his office.
The new district attorney said he has a team of lawyers who are going to review every aspect of the case making recommendations on how to proceed.
D'Antonio plans on being thorough with each case.
"I will personally review those cases and recommendations and decide where to go," D'Antonio said.
He also plans on going after open murder cases and helping deliver justice for those victims.
D'Antonio will also be working on strengthening the ties between law enforcement agencies and the community having the judicial system work for them.
"I plan to once a month have a meeting, an open forum, for anybody in Dona Ana County to discuss issues regarding the law and justice department," D'Antonio said.
D'Antonio's ideas will be implemented immediately, hoping it will benefit the people he was elected to serve.
"I believe that justice delayed is justice denied so we're going to try promptly and as quick as we can to get those things taken care of," D'Antonio said.