Cop-killer Michael Astorga’s convictions upheld by NM Supreme Court

In March 2006, Michael Astorga shot Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy James McGrane during a traffic stop. On Friday, in an opinion by Justice Chavez, the New Mexico Supreme Court rejected Astorga’s arguments on appeal and upheld his conviction for first-degree murder and other crimes.

On appeal, Astorga raised five arguments: (1) that he had suffered from ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) that the trial court improperly excluded evidence of a prosecution witness’s prior inconsistent statement; (3) that the prosecutor improperly asked an alibi witness about another murder that Astorga was allegedly involved in; (4) that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding that Astorga acted with the deliberation required for first-degree murder; and (5) that the trial court should have granted a change of venue.

In addition, Scott Sandlin has this report on the decision in the Albuquerque Journal, and Elizabeth Reed and Blair Miller have this report at


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