Prosecutor appeals ruling on evidence allowed in Alexee Trevizo trial

Prosecutor appeals ruling on evidence allowed in Alexee Trevizo trial

ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s the final legal step in a case that rocked New Mexico: When a teen mother gave birth and her newborn baby was found dead in a bathroom stall at an Artesia hospital, the state Supreme Court could now rule on what jurors in her trial will hear.

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Alexee Trevizo was just 19 when she gave birth at an Artesia hospital and the newborn was found dead in the hospital bathroom. Her trial is set for next month, but a legal battle is still ongoing over what should and should not be allowed at trial.

Video taken the night of the incident includes statements from the teenager, who at one point tells her mother and doctor: “I’m sorry, it just came out of me and I didn’t know what to do.”

His lawyer, Gary Mitchell, argued that the statement was part of evidence that should not be admitted at his upcoming trial. He argued that doctor-patient confidentiality was breached when hospital staff passed information to “police and the public.”

He also argued that Trevizo’s Miranda rights were violated, saying she was arrested while waiting in the hospital room. “She did not accept that the doctor acted as a police officer and helped question her with the officers present in the room. At the time she was already in custody, she was not free to leave,” Mitchell said.

Meanwhile, according to court documents, the state argued that this was not a HIPPA violation and that Trevizo had waived her rights when she began talking to doctors in the presence of her mother and police. Court documents show that the state also argued that Trevizo was not in police custody at the time she told the doctor that the baby had come out of her and that she did not know what to do.

Ultimately, the district court judge agreed with the defense, who said the evidence should be suppressed. But the state has now appealed the ruling. “All I can say is that this was clearly evidence that we believe was appropriate, evidence that we believe should be allowed to use, and we respectfully disagree with the court,” said Dianna Luce, district attorney for Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties.

The prosecutor’s office is asking the state’s highest court to overturn the decision and allow Trevizo’s statement, among other evidence, to be presented in court. While prosecutor Luce said she couldn’t comment on specifics because of a court seal, she explained why her office is committed to pursuing the case. “Is this really just a private, confidential medical matter or were there acts that rise to the level of criminal intent? So we believe it rises to the level of criminal intent,” Luce said. “Our job is to protect children. So, especially any infant that can’t protect themselves, we made the decision to file charges.”

“My great fear is that in the haste with which we try to convict people, our appellate courts are ignoring constitutional rights that we have had for centuries,” Mitchell said.

Trevizo is charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. Her attorney called her release on “strict” conditions pending trial.

There is no specific date for the state Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the appeal. Both the defense and prosecution have said it is now unlikely the case will go to trial as scheduled next month.

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