San Felipe Pueblo Man Sentenced to Eighty-Seven Months
in Federal Prison for Assaulting Intimate Partner
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address
the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women
ALBUQUERQUE – Valentino Sanchez, 24, a member of San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., was sentenced this morning to 87 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on two assault charges.
Sanchez was arrested on May 22, 2012, after investigation revealed that he had assaulted the victim, his intimate partner, by repeatedly striking and punching her on the head and back with his hands, kicking her, and striking her on the head and back with a stick. As a result of the assault, the victim suffered an orbital fracture to the right side of her face and a small traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage to the left front part of the brain.
On Jan. 16, 2013, Sanchez pled guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. In entering his guilty plea, Sanchez admitted assaulting the victim, a San Felipe Pueblo woman, with a stick on May 14, 2012. He also admitted that the victim sustained serious bodily injuries as a result of the assault. The offenses occurred on San Felipe Pueblo land.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Southern Pueblos Agency, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Presiliano A. Torrez. It was brought pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.