A New Mexico judge ordered a man accused of sexual assault to remain in custody while he awaits trial. The ruling was handed down following a July 2 motion hearing in Chaves County. During the hearing, prosecutors convinced the judge that the man posed a threat to the community and was a flight risk because he has no permanent residence. Prosecutors also drew the judge’s attention to the man’s prior criminal record, which stretches back for almost two decades according to media reports.

The man’s latest bout of legal problems began on July 1 when he was taken into custody on criminal sexual contact, battery and false imprisonment charges. The arrest came after Chaves County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a residence on North Main Street to investigate reports of a man assaulting a woman. When they arrived at the scene, deputies say that they found the man being restrained by a group of bystanders. The victim is said to have told deputies that the man groped her and then exposed himself after she gave him a ride.

A records check allegedly revealed that a bench warrant had been issued for the man in June. He was being sought for failing to comply with the terms of his probation. The man was on probation because he pleaded no contest to a single count of battery in connection with a May 2018 incident that left a man dead. He was originally charged with second-degree murder.

Experienced criminal law attorneys may question the mental competency of individuals who behave in strange ways without provocation or explanation. When mental health professionals determine that criminal suspects are suffering from cognitive impediments and lack the ability to determine right from wrong, attorneys may argue that treatment is a more appropriate approach than incarceration.