Trial delayed for pregnant defendant |

Trial delayed for pregnant defendant

by Sheila Gardner

Trial on a drug trafficking charge set to begin next week was delayed seven months because the defendant is pregnant, and expressed concern that the proceedings would put her unborn child under stress.

Attorney Derrick Lopez told District Judge Tod Young that the doctor for his client, Tearsa Lynn Chaidez, 33, was concerned for the health of the baby, due Feb. 23.

According to his client, Lopez said the doctor was concerned the baby wasn’t growing.

A frustrated Young said he was ready to sign an order calling 100 residents to report for jury duty for the trial that was to begin Dec. 16.

“If I send this out and disrupt people’s lives and plans, then you come in the next day and say we can’t have this trial. Are you going to ask me to continue?” Young asked.

Lopez said Chaidez was to see her doctor on Tuesday, but Young said that would be too late to continue the trial after the jury had been called.

“I am not inclined to put a child at risk over this case,” he said. “It concerns me that we need issues to be resolved. I can’t send jurors an order to appear the next day. That’s not the best way to insure a fair trial.”

Chaidez was arrested Oct. 22, 2012, after more than a pound of methamphetamine was allegedly found in a safe at her home.

She is accused of having 1 pound, 14 ounces of methamphetamine in a safe inside her home along with scales, a ledger and $4,800 in cash.

Investigators discovered the safe on Oct. 22, 2012, while conducting a search in an unrelated case.

At a preliminary hearing in April, Douglas County, an investigator testified he and another officer found the safe in a bedroom.

He testified he could see money, packaging and what looked like an illicit drug by shining a flashlight through one quarter-sized hole in the back of the safe and looking through a second hole.

He said Chaidez allowed him to take the safe to the Douglas County Sheriff’s station where authorities opened it.

She pleaded not guilty in May to trafficking in a controlled substance, and Young set the trial for Dec. 16.

“I am very frustrated and trying not to show it,” the judge said Tuesday.

He set the new trial for July 7, and ordered Chaidez to appear.

“Here’s the deal,” he said. “The fact that you will have a young child will not keep you from trial. I will not allow you to use this baby to keep avoiding the charges you are facing. I would not move this trial at all if I didn’t have the interests of an innocent child.”

Chaidez is out of custody on $25,000 bail.

He renewed Chaidez’s bail conditions that include no drugs or alcohol, subject to random search and seizure, no firearms or dangerous weapons and no travel out of the state without notification in advance to the Department of Alternative Sentencing which is supervising her.