A Cortez man charged with forgery and theft caught a break last month after being released from jail on a lesser, incorrect bond amount.
According to court records, Robert Marquez, 33, was initially given a $10,000 bond on May 21. Sheriff officials released him from custody under a $2,500 bond on May 27. The issue arose at a hearing on Thursday, June 12, when Chief District Court Judge Doug Walker questioned how the defendant was released on a lower bond. Neither prosecutors nor defense counsel were able to answer.
Marquez is now in custody and appeared Thursday before Walker, who raised his bond to $20,000. Since his release, Marquez, who has an extensive criminal history, now faces new charges including two counts of theft and three counts of forgery.
According to court records, Marquez allegedly stole checks from a 74-year-old North Beech Street resident and wrote checks totaling $740 in April and May.
Asked Friday by The Cortez Journal to explain the mix-up, Montezuma County Undersheriff Lynda Carter recommended that the Journal ask the prosecutor and defender.
"The court sets bond not us," she said via email. "I would check and see if the district attorney or the public defender asked to reduce the bond."
District Attorney Will Furse on Friday told The Journal that he didn't want to speculate on how Marquez was released on a lower bond, adding the $2,500 bond was much lower than the one he requested or the $10,000 bond that Walker ordered.
"This is a very unique incident," he said.
The court, likewise, didn't have a conclusive answer. "There's nothing in the case file that explains it," a court official confirmed on Monday.
Adding to the confusion, a $2,500 bond did exist. On Dec. 16, 2013, a $2,500 bond was issued, but it was forfeited when Marquez failed to appear in court on March 5. Marquez also violated bond conditions - twice in January and three times in February, according to court records.
Monday afternoon, Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell acknowledged on his Facebook page that Marquez was released on an improper bond, adding it was a case of "human error."
Marquez is scheduled to appear in court at 10 a.m. on July 10. A joint disposition of the charges is possible, according to court officials.