Luna official charged in fight

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By David Giuliani

Luna Community College Trustee Ambrose Castellano has been charged in an altercation that occurred during a football game in October.

On Jan. 20, Highlands University police filed a petty misdemeanor charge of battery against Castellano, 37, in Magistrate Court.

According to court documents, Castellano asked a youth during an Oct. 29 football game at Highland’ stadium if he had a problem with his son. The boy reportedly replied that he did and that he was going to beat up the son.

Documents state that the youth then reached into his pocket, making Castellano feel threatened. Castellano then allegedly slapped the youth across the face.

According to the police report, Castellano told officers that soda was then thrown in his face and that he was punched in the lip by someone.

According to Magistrate Court clerks, the Highlands police hadn’t filed charges against anyone else in that court related to the altercation.

Highlands police investigated the case because the incident happened at the school’s football stadium, where the West Las Vegas team was playing that night.

Castellano, a former West board member, didn’t have any comment on the charge Wednesday other than to say that he’ll wait out the situation and see what happens.

According to police reports after the incident, the alleged victim told officers that Castellano had struck him in the face. The police confirmed that the youth had an injury to his face.

After Castellano reportedly left, West Principal came over to break up a fight between the alleged victim and other teens. The principal said he was trying to to prevent one of them from hitting another, and when he did, the alleged victim’s mother punched the principal in the back of the head, according to reports.

The mother said Parson had tried to push her son out of the stadium and that she “lost it,” the reports state. She told officers that she didn’t remember hitting the principal.

The police that night issued a disorderly conduct citation against the mother, Rene Maestas.

Highlands police said the state attorney general’s office is considering whether to file charges involving battery of school personnel.

Because the alleged victim was a defendant in an unrelated case that the district attorney’s office was prosecuting, District Attorney Richard Flores gave the alleged victim’s father a choice of DAs to handle the one involving Castellano; the father chose Tucumcari.

Castellano has had brushes with the law before. He was charged with contempt of court in 2005 for failing to pay fines. A year later, an arrest warrant was issued for Castellano because he faced another contempt charge. At the time, he was running for San Miguel County sheriff; he lost.

In the latest case, Magistrate Judge Philip Romero will preside. But Romero and Castellano got into a political dispute last year.

When Castellano was running for chairman of the San Miguel County Democratic Party, he objected to Romero and fellow local magistrate judge, Chris Najar, from participating as delegates. Castellano pointed to a state law barring judges from holding offices in partisan organizations.

During the party convention, Castellano and Romero got into a heated argument. They debated the Code of Judicial Conduct, but Romero walked away, saying that Castellano was threatening him with action if he voted at the convention.

The state Democratic Party later rejected Castellano’s claim that Romero broke the rules.

No documents in Castellano’s case file indicate that he would ask Romero to excuse himself from handling the case.