The Piercing Truth

This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes

Nov 1, 2007

The Judicial Zone

Consider if you will the story of a police officer who while patrolling on a typical Wednesday night is forced to suddenly swerve to avoid another vehicle entering the roadway from a popular local bar. The officer follows the company car thankful that no one was injured or killed and in light of the near accident decides that the best course of action would be to pull the vehicle over and determine the driver's status.

Initially, the driver fails to respond to emergency lights and eventually weaves his way east in the west bound lanes of an adjacent street before coming to a stop. The officer observes a strong odor of alcohol and administers a series of field sobriety tests that result in failure. The driver is arrested and tested using a breath alcohol analyzer scoring a .15 - nearly double the legal limit. The officer considers the driver and his passengers lucky to be alive; the driver most like considers himself unlucky to be caught. The driver's intoxicated passengers find their own way home.

The stage is set as everyone heads to court. The case is heard but only the defense is allowed to present their case. The driver and one passenger take a polygraph that indicates they're telling the truth when they claim that they never saw the police vehicle behind him. The passengers testify that they never saw or almost hit a police vehicle. The judge finds for the defendant because the driver and his passengers couldn't have possibly almost hit a police vehicle that they never saw.

Sounds like the Twilight Zone but unfortunately it's the Judicial Zone at Metrocourt right here in Albuquerque. The case is a real one, the Judge is Judge Victor Valdez, and the case number DW62407.

According to our Eyes Judge Valdez found for the defendant Scott Lawrence based on a polygraph that only confirmed Mr. Lawrence never saw the police vehicle he almost hit and the testimony of his passengers who were admittedly intoxicated at the time. Never mind the fact that Mr. Lawrence blew a .15 and by all legal standards was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.
Look we're not an attorney and we're certainly not a judge, but wouldn't the fact that the defendant and his passenger's testimony that they didn't observe the police vehicle even after almost hitting it support the officer's probable cause? It sounds to us like Judge Valdez used a theory similar to the judge in the movie Tombstone who dismissed a murder case on the theory that "you can't have a murder if you don't have a witness."

Our Eyes tell us that the DA's office has filed a motion for the judge to reconsider his decision in the case based at least partially on the fact that the state never got the opportunity to present its case. We're not experts in jurisprudence, but we're pretty sure that judicial theory includes the idea that both the defense and the prosecution are given the opportunity to present their case.

We understand that Linda Atkinson has heard about this case and is well... pretty MADD about it. Frankly, we're a bit miffed as well. The system may be boring and there's got to be a temptation to short circuit the process especially where friends are involved however, the judicial system can only function if the public has faith in its impartiality and its efficacy.

Unfortunately stories like this are more common than we'd like to believe, but because they affect only a very few people judges are rarely held accountable. According to our Eyes, Judge Valdez has aspirations to higher office specifically District Court. In our opinion, he's already in over his judicial head. It's also time that we keep a more careful Eye on Metrocourt and the judges whose everyday decisions all too often go unnoticed.

You can reach Judge Valdez by dialing 841-8263 or 841-8264. Perhaps it would do the judge some good to hear from someone residing outside of The Judicial Zone.

-----Update-----
All right, we got a little too creative in this post, for that we apologize. We shall now attempt to put the story in a nut shell.

According to our Eyes, Judge Valdez admitted evidence from a polygraph without the proper hearing. It seemd that the polygraph "evidence" was used to attack the probable cause used to justify the traffic stop. We assume the court's logic was that the officer couldn't have almost been hit by the defendant if the defendant and his passengers never saw the police vehicle. Consequently, the officer had no justification for pulling the defendant over in the first place. Since the stop lacked the necessary probable cause, the fact that the defendant blew a .15 and smelled of alcohol is irrelevant.

What is more troubling to us is that our Eyes tell us that Judge Valdez never allowed the state to present its case; which would make it somewhat difficult to convince a judge of it's validity. Who knows Mr. Lawrence may still have been found not guilty, but it's incumbent upon the judge to follow procedure and to hear the complete case.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've always felt that Metro judges feel the need to set precedent so that they get noticed and have a chance at higher office. For the most part District judges play it safe because they don't want to get over turned on appeal.

Anonymous said...

These judges have no morality and the sense of right and wrong. Just another team of whores who are afraid of not getting elected again and are afraid of the criminals. They just nedd to be judges like in the days of old and grow a set.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm not understanding the point of this post- Let me see if I follow: The DWI charge was thrown out? Or some other charge? What did the "almost hitting a police vehicle" have to do with the fact that the guy blew a .15? Why didn't the "state" present its case?

Anonymous said...

Good grief. There is no way you (blogger) have presented truthfully all of the facts in your accounting of this case. No way. You should have to answer the calls at the phone numbers you printed here and apologize to the public for misleading them.

Anonymous said...

Above poster, sounds like you may be related to Manny,Marty & Ralph.
This is oh so typical judicial bulls-it. You whoever you are have never lost anyone or known anyone who's lost a loved one to a drunk driver. It's just par for the course that this individual get a free pass even though the evidence shows (even though the state was NOT ALLOWED to present it's side of the case) that the driver WAS above the legal limit....... Congrad's to the liberal Judge Valdez--GOD PLEASE FOR GIVE ME FOR SAYING IT,LET THESE INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCE THE TRAGEDY OF LOOSING SOMEONE TO A DRUNK DRIVER AND LET THEM HAVE A JUDGE OF THE SAME CALIBER DISMISS FOR WHATEVER REASON.LET THEM FELL THE BETRAYAL OF THE VERY SYSTEM WERE SUPPOST TO HAVE FAITH IN... aBOVE POSTER YOU ARE AN FISRT CALSS IDIOT ! ! ! ! !

Anonymous said...

Could not have said it better!

James said...

Again... WHY did the prosecution not present its case? The link you provided to the case documents does not work. Me thinks there is a lot more to this than what you are presenting. Judges just don't throw out DWIs for no reason.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, if I blew 2x the limit I'd be blind drunk enough not to see a police car so of course the polygraph would come out I was telling the truth.

sounds fishy said...

It seems that the charge he got away with was something like vehicular assault on a police officer; and not the DUI.

fact check pls

Anonymous said...

To the poster up there who thinks I am a FISRT (sic) CALSS (sic) IDIOT: If the prosecution wasn't allowed to present its side of the case, as you claim, then there was no evidence that the driver was above the legal limit, was there?

Anonymous said...

The state was not allowed to present it's case because the judge improperly allowed the defense to put on it's case before the state had rested their case. The judge, who by the way is the brother-in-law of a prominent defense attorney, did not follow the procedural rules of a trial. If the judge had followed the rules he could not have dismissed the case. Seems like he deliberally did not follow the rules so that he could insure that the case would be dismissed. And to the poster above who said that there is no way that this is a truthful account of the case...you are wrong. This is exactly what happened and what often happens on cases in metro court. Some of you out there who don't think case could be dismissed for BS like this should spend a day or two in court and find out just how ridiculous it is that cases are dismissed for reasons like this. So how safe do you feel going out tonight considering that one in five cars on the roadway after 8pm is an impaired driver and the percentages get worse as it gets later in the evening. So feel confident that if you are in an accident due to a drunk driver your case could be set before a judge like Valdez and you could get no justice....

Anonymous said...

Blogger:

Well, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. I realize that bloggers do not have to follow the ethical rules that journalists do, but your story on Judge Valdez was very incomplete, slanted and a disservice to your readers. Before the judge could consider any evidence collected as a result of that traffic stop, he had to review the circumstances under which it was made. This is a protection that is very important to our legal system and protects all of us from the abuses of a police state. He heard defense and prosecution tell diametrically opposed stories about what lead to the stop. Both sides were heard, both sides presented evidence regarding the traffic stop. The defense brought in a polygraph expert, something the state did not do. The judge had to make a decision, based on the credibility of witnesses and that evidence. He ruled against the prosecution and suppressed the testimony of the officer. There was no “Twilight Zone” justice going on here. It was the US Constitution at work. If you would like to listen to the audio recording of the motion hearing or trial in this case, you may do so. It might give you a better idea about “reasonable suspicion” and “probable cause” and other legal landmarks both sides must meet. The judges at Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court make thousands of decisions each year and if either side is unhappy, it goes to appeal and this one has. It will be heard in District Court. Please follow it there and give a more complete report. Your readers deserve it.
Janet Blair
Public Information
Metropolitan Court

Anonymous said...

Hey Janet Blair! How come Kerry Brandenburgs daughter got such a favorable outcome on her DWI case? Install an Interlock for 1 year and the charges will drop off from her record? I wonder how many times that is offered to people? NEVER!!!! Your judges are Liers,and they are in the "It's not what you know but WHO you know GAME". No need to reply cause you are a spin doctor too.

Anonymous said...

Somebody please help me get this straight. Basically what's being presented is this:

Despite an officer's observation if a defendant provides testimony that is "certified" by a polygraph and is contrary to the officer's observation which details the initial probable cause then all will be suppressed.

Is this really what was done??? WTF?

Anonymous said...

Ok Janet Blair you opened the box remember that. Lets talk about judges that will wait an hour or more for an attorney that is running late. Or would you rather talk about the judges that dismiss the case because the cop is not in the courtroom when the case is called , knowing the cop has ten cases in ten different courtrooms at the same time. You want to talk the talk Janet ? All you cops need to walk the walk. E MAIL THE EYE . All you cops have horror stories about the games of Metro Court. Let the public know . When our DWI problem is on national news ,O'Riely Factor there is a huge problem.

Anonymous said...

Being the PIO for metro court just got a lot harder.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Blair for answering on the record. That has to be a first.

Anonymous said...

All politicians! Judges! Stay home, stop campaigning, and get yourselves involved in fixing this mess in New Mexico. Stop pandering to your friends, campaign contributors, and do what is right instead of constantly circumventing the system for the benefit of your friends. ONCE AGAIN. You work for all citizens(not just a few) the voters and those of use who pay your salaries.
You are not allowed to do as you damn well please. You must follow the rules like everyone else. Stop messing with the dockets so people can get off and schedule the police in these courts so they can be where their supposed to be instead of rigging it so friends and contributors can get off. Send a signal to your defense attorney buddies that the fixing of these courts is over. Everyone must be treated with the same due process as the next,not just the few.
As for Janet, please, stop spinning this bowl of dung into something it is not or this judicial system we have here will become national news more often than you like.
Stop acting like this way of conducting our court proceedings is anything more than politics as usual in this "Patron" bullshit system of ours. Justice and Liberty for ALL? I think not.

Anonymous said...

As stated earlier, to Janet at least she had the guts to identify herself and give her (metro's official) side of the story. The problem is the fact that the Judge and defense attorney are related. That being said the Judge should want to recuse himself just for the fact of the impression of a conflict of interest. How come when a metro court employee, let alone a relative has to get a judge from a different district if they are involved in a case.

Judge Valdez maybe you should use some discretion in your cases. You should have learned from Judge Griego's two, yes two, case fixing problems and also Judge Gomez's free housing project.

In your eyes in might be ok as long as Richardson is Governor. You can be a convicted felon and still be on the payroll and appointed to that cabinet position.

Anonymous said...

Hey Janet, next time get your facts straight. The credibitly issue should have been brought up during the defense's case in chief after the state had rested. The judge did not properly handle the case and allowed the testimony he did inappropriately. And the polygraph is a joke. I am sure I could find a polygraph "expert" to testify that I am the Queen of England if I had enough money. Anyone can find an expert to say what they want for the right price. As a citizen of Albuquerque I would have been satisifed with whatever decision the judge made if he had conducted his trial according to the rules of a trial. According to my sources the judge himself said that he had unanswered questions about the case. As the trier of fact he should have listened to all of the facts. The fact that Mr. Lawrence bombed his field tests and the fact that he tests at .15 were revelent yet the judge didn't bother to hear that. My sources also tell me that Mr. Lawrence testified that he only had 3 drinks. It is a well documented fact that each normal size drink will raise your blood alcohol .02. Can you do the math Janet? That means Mr. Lawrence had to have had at least seven and a half drinks. So who is truly credible here. These are fact that would have been brought out in the state's case in chief had they been allowed to present it. This is proof that Mr. Lawrence lied under oath. It is also my understanding that all of his passengers were also too drunk to drive and had to go to their hotel in a cab. Again all of these are facts that an UNBIASED judge would have and should have wanted to hear. Obviously the judge was not unbiased. Get your facts straight next time Janet before you bash others for not doing the same!!

Anonymous said...

That guy had four of his buddies with him. Why did only one of the passengers take the lie detector test? My guess would be that the other three would have failed it.

Anonymous said...

Three posts up: exactly how are the judge and the defense attorney in this case related?

Anonymous said...

Remember when the citizens had court watch and Judge Nakamura threw a fit. She didn't think it was appropriate for citizens to monitor the judges. Ask Ann, she did a wonderful job with that program!

Anonymous said...

Sidebar. I was at the Metro Court building the other day and saw some beautiful marble tile. Does anyone know where I can get some cheap?

Anonymous said...

Heard they delivered a whole bunch to Manny's house.

Anonymous said...

Pray tell, why would Manny Aragon have all these tiles at his house?

Did he buy them? Janet any comment?

it's all you guys ever do said...

bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, and then bitch some more.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like the bitching....don't log on and read it idiot!! What choice to we have. Our elected officials don't listen or care they are just interested in lining their own pockets. So lets bitch away!!!!

Anonymous said...

On a good note. The majority of our metro court judges are fair and impartial. They actually know the statuatory and case law and they follow it. Judge Valdez obviously has an agenda that does not include justice for the people.

Screwed By Judge Rodgers said...

Really.....? Judge Linda Rodgers doesn't. She doesn't listen to the facts. She has a "SUPERWOMEN" complex.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...anybody think that the Officer maybe did NOT have probable cause to make the stop, and simply fabricated a story that the defendant \"almost hit him\"??? I\'m sure that could happen more often than we would like to think!

Anonymous said...

There are probably two Metro Judges that actually like Officers and believe they are credible. Nakamura does not like Officers and was the biggest advocate against Officers taking their weapons into the building. Remember that when there is an election.

Anonymous said...

Two posts up, you dont need to fabricate Probable Cause to get a drunk in New Mexico.
1. There are so many of them that if you patrol the streets at all you catch a few who literally do nearly hit you or actually hit you.
2. There isn't some special prize for catchin' drunks, it's not like you win a toaster over if you get five of them. Not to dispute your "devils advocate" question, I'm sure cops somewhere have added a little spice to otherwise bland PC, maybe to catch a murderer -- but to catch a drunk?? Seriously, why risk your career for something you can get another of by simply driving down Central the following night?

Anonymous said...

OK - all you dirty Copper\'s who are writing license plate cover tickets knock it the f*&^ off!!!
While I can understand the \"Blurring\" plate covers may bother Marty, there is nothing wrong with the clear covers that can be purchased anywhere, including Wal-mart! If \"They\" are truly illeagal: 1. show us the stauate, & 2. go cite Wal-mart, Pep-boys, etc for selling them, otherwise this would appear to be a form of entrapment, and I\'m sure you wouldn\'t want that!&&^$%

Anonymous said...

I love it everyone HATES COPS until they need one, then we become your daddy.
To say a cop wuld risk his or her career over a drunk is idiotic.

Anonymous said...

The DUI cause in Albuquerque or (APD) is very, very, profitable to an Alb. Police Officer. Look at the money they make by just arresting a suspected drunk driver. I think some officers know this and could care less as to wether their stop was justified or any other prodcedure that might not be to NHTSA standards. Follow the money their are some APD officers makeing $30-40 thousand dollars or more on DUI related overtime. Never mind the statistics show that DUI accidents are down.

Anonymous said...

I don't hate cops. I have called and was told my call wasn't a priority call (neighbors house broke into in front of my eyes). Why call APD? They won't be there under 2 hours anyways. Now AFD that's a whole different story under 5 minutes when I needed them.

Anonymous said...

APD has approximately 400 patrol officers in charge of handling in the realm of 500,000 to 750,000 calls a year...those calls include drive time (Westside?), waiting for the understaffed field investigators, waiting for tow trucks, completing all of the necessary paperwork, driving people to booking, etc. If you have a question about what your local cop actually does...go to the substation and ask. I am sure that someone will be able to tell you. And do not compare the jobs of cops and firefighters...Not the same job...both very dangerous....but different job duties.

Fallin' on deaf eares!!!! said...

Nobody compared the two jobs. Just the response times. Spare me the job description please. I'm not the one who joined the police force. I'm just the one who dialed 911. So hear we go with the I'm overworked and under paid song and dance.

why don't you do something instead of bitching? said...

bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch

Anonymous said...

...ok chummmies, many cops hate DWI's because aside from being a pain in the ass to process, getting dry humped by a defense attorney after half a dozen continuances ain't that much fun either.

As for the delay time, go for a ride along and open your eyes...cops love in progress crimes, it makes us excited. However, we don't control who takes the 911 call, how it is taken, nor how it gets prioritized. Include the human element of some dispatcher on her 2nd forced over double shift and you have the makings of some wonderful FUBAR incidents. Ask the mayor or chief why EVERYTHING is a priority 1 and maybe the citizens will understand why we're there 25 minutes after the scumbag took everything out of your garage, loaded it into your pickup truck and drove off in that too.

Anonymous said...

Fuck APD. I don't need you or want you and, NO I wouldn't call you in my hour of need. Lord knows APD needs at least 2 hours to respond to a call just ask the Regensburg family.

Anonymous said...

SEE! see what this mayor and chief have caused. Discontent amongs't you all in APD & AFD.
Put all of this shit at Marty and Ray's doorstep.
We need real MEN to step up and run this city, not twats & duchebags.

you're never going to change anything said...

if all you can do is bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch

Anonymous said...

I am not a police officer, but I have had contact with the police in this city. The problems that the above people mention fall at the Chief's feet ( and DCOPS.) I have always supported both APD and AFD. If I ever get a citation for my license plate cover because the officers can't see that it is Marty's agenda, I will never vote in favor of them again. The officers have to get a brain and realize that every citation for redlight scamera or license plate cover is a vote of confidence for Marty and Ray!!!!

Anonymous said...

Last I knew you didn't need probable cause for a traffic stop, I believe it is reasonable suspicion

Anonymous said...

I think the police can distinguish the difference from a regular 'Joe middle class' guy coming or going to work and some gang banging little prick driving around all day in his Ecalade whoe doesn't have a job. Stop the gang banger prick. You'll find your probable
fucking cause. Then they'll have probable cause to shot that little south of the border MFer.
Oh, unless he's related to Marty or Ray's yard man.

Anonymous said...

Here are the problems with this post:

1) while it is refreshingly rare to see anyone amend their version of a particular account because they weren't right the first time, it still leaves room for doubt about any previous or subsequent first version appearing on this blog.

2) Eye's assumption about Judge Valdez' logic begs comparison with the assumption that the Eye's initial account was accurate.

3) Janet Blair�s commendable effort not withstanding, Eye has not presented the judge�s side of the story.

The net effect is we don�t really know what happened in the courtroom, and what we have from the Eye is an unreliable and obviously opinionated speculation.

Not your finest moment.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who plans to vote in this county needs to spend some time in Metro court and see what's really going on and who's doing rather than just rubber-stamoing judges for retention.

P.S. Jent Blair is a pathological liar.

Anonymous said...

Janet Blair is the last person who should be talking about ethical reporting. She is a lying bitch who gets paid to do NOTHING at metro court. She is so far up Judy Nakamuras ass its scary. Metro Court is a JOKE. Victor Valdez is an arrogent cock sucker who is too stupid to know the law. He just likes hearing himself speak.