The commission filed a recommendation last month that the supreme court suspend SÃ¡nchez without pay for a month and pay 30 percent of the commission's expenses.
Crollett's response says that the recommendation for discipline had "no basis" given that the commission unanimously found that it "could not find clear and convincing evidence" that SÃ¡nchez' actions qualified as willful misconduct, or that SÃ¡nchez "misrepresented" his intentions to let the 32 prisoners go the day after they were jailed rather than the following Monday.
"Although Judge SÃ¡nchez' conduct may be negligent, there is no clear and convincing evidence that his conduct was willful," the response reads. "Judge SÃ¡nchez clearly had the power to do what he did."
Crollett also contended that SÃ¡nchez has already faced financial punishment, as he has "incurred attorney's fees in the amount of $76,925."
The 2009 hearing that led to the misconduct allegations was for a motion to reconsider the sentence of Dominic Bau, who was sentenced to 12 years after he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual penetration and criminal sexual contact of a minor for raping a 13-year-old female relative.
When SÃ¡nchez denied the motion, the commission's document said that Bau began "yelling out that the hearing had been one-sided" and that "the state's evidence showed the victim was not a virgin." The disruption then spread to the gallery, where Bau's supporters also began to shout and exchange words and gestures with the victim's family.
The commission contended that SÃ¡nchez held only Bau's supporters in contempt and that they were not individually identified and were held without a "definite term of imprisonment."
But Crollett stated in the response that case law cited precedent that SÃ¡nchez "was not required to determine a sufficient factual and legal basis to charge each person individually with contempt."
The state public defender's office petitioned the supreme court to issue an order for the prisoners' release, which was granted the day after the arrest.
But Crollettt argued that had the supreme court not ordered the prisoners' release, SÃ¡nchez would have followed through with his intention to release the prisoners the following day, a Friday. Crollett cited witness testimony from employees of the district attorney's office and court employees to support the theory.
The response argued that SÃ¡nchez had a meeting of chief judges the day after the incident, but that he told his wife and his former assistant Shena Cannon that he was going to release the prisoners that day. But when public defender Darryl Bouchard inquired about the release, Cannon was bound only to tell him what had been included in the court record.
Bouchard and Deputy Chief Public Defender David Eisenberg then went ahead and filed an emergency writ with the supreme court to have the prisoners released.
When SÃ¡nchez was served with the writ, several witnesses testified that he told Bouchard, "It's too bad you did this, I was going to release them today." Bouchard testified that SÃ¡nchez told him he was going to release the prisoners the following Monday, which is why the writ was filed.
"Clear and convincing evidence of judicial misconduct does not arise from a swearing match between Darryl Bouchard and Judge SÃ¡nchez," the response read.
The supreme court is slated to issue its decision in SÃ¡nchez' case April 20 in Santa Fe.