Metro Court officials: Violent parole-violator’s release not our fault

John Sena
John Sena

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Officials with Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Court say don’t blame them, after a man with a violent criminal past who violated conditions of his parole was released from jail.

On Saturday, John Sena was captured on lapel camera getting violent with Albuquerque police officers as they went to arrest him in the Heights.

The next day, Sunday, Sena was in court and faced Judge Michelle Castillo Dowler.

“Your charges are two counts of battery on a peace officer, each of those are fourth-degree felonies and carry up to 18 months in custody,” she relayed to Sena.

Ultimately, Judge Castillo Dowler released Sena on his own recognizance. But Metro Court officials tell KRQE News 13 the intention was never for Sena to actually walk free.

That’s because when he was arrested Saturday, he violated his conditions of parole from a case several years back in which he was convicted of battery on a peace officer. For that, he did four years behind bars.

Metro Court officials tell KRQE News 13 its background division called the State’s Probation and Parole division twice, notifying them of the Saturday arrest.

“I did call earlier, Your Honor. They are supposed to send the probation violation hold over to MDC. Seems that he has not been booked on that yet,” a background official told Judge Castillo Dowler in court on Sunday morning.

Metro Court officials say the judge saw setting bond in the new case moot.

“So, if I’m going to go by the matrix, then I’m going to release Mr. Sena on his own recognizance in this case. As we all know, though, he’s going to be held on the probation violation case for probably longer than the 10-day rule date would be for this case,” Judge Castillo Dowler said.

Court officials say it was up to Probation and Parole to notify MDC not to release Sena.

Probation and Parole tells KRQE News 13 it did its job and notified MDC to keep Sena behind bars by sending arrest paperwork via fax.

Clearly, something went awry. Sena was released Sunday following the court appearance.

MDC tells KRQE News 13 it did receive the arrest documentation from probation and parole, but says it was sent to the wrong machine and was not discovered until well after Sena was released. We have reached back out to probation and parole for clarification on what happened on their end.

Sena has not yet been located to be re-arrested and booked on the probation violation. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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