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Hearing on Sheriff Vigil’s jail takeover case postponed

A hearing to determine if Doa Ana County Sheriff Enrique “Kiki” Vigil should have any role overseeing the county jail has been delayed.

As ABC-7 has reported, Jail Administrator Chris Barela was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement and other charges on Dec. 8. Vigil took over the jail immediately, saying he wanted to maintain safety but the county said he had no authority.

As he was discussing Barela’s arrest and the jail takeover during a news conference that day, County Manager Julia Brown handed him a copy of a temporary restraining order, forcing him and his deputies to vacate the detention center. He did so within a couple of hours.

In Doa Ana County, the jail administrator reports to county administrators, not the sheriff.

Vigil had requested a continuance on Friday’s hearing because he lacked legal representation. In court documents, he said the county had denied his emergency request for appropriations to pay for an attorney, and the county was not providing him legal counsel.

District Judge Manuel Arrieta postponed the hearing until Jan. 27.

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