On Tuesday, the New Mexico Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's ruling, allowing Attorney General Gary King to prosecute Jerome Block, Jr, for criminal charges related to embezzlement and misappropriated campaign funds.
Refresher: Back in 2008, Block ran for Public Regulation Commission, where he currently works. He received just over $100,000 in public campaign funds--but news reports soon began to surface that Block had allegedly misappropriated those funds.
Then Secretary of State Mary Herrera levied fines against Block for violating voting and campaign reporting laws. But it wasn't until April 2009 that the AG's office secured eight criminal indictments (including conspiracy, embezzlement, campaign and voting violations and tampering with evidence) against Block and another four against his father, Jerome Block Sr.
The First Judicial District court dismissed the charges, ruling that the AG lacked the authority to prosecute the Blocks without the Secretary of State's referral, and that since Herrera had already levied a fine, bringing criminal charges amounted to double jeopardy.
Today, the New Mexico Court of Appeals reversed that decision. (Scroll down to read the opinion.)
AGO Communications Director Phil Sisneros says the office doesn't have an official comment yet, "But obviously, we're pleased."
Block's attorneys did not immediately return a message.