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

Sep 11, 2008

Playing Defense

It's a time honored tradition for candidates to avoid exposure to public scrutiny when riding a political wave or defending their seat. Two years ago Patricia... uh, uh, uh... Madrid lost an election when she debated Heather Wilson and couldn't answer a simple question on taxes. Madrid's eleven second gaff more than likely cost her more than the 700 or so voters that eventually became Heather Wilson's margin of victory.

Campaign managers will do everything in their power to keep an incumbent away from the public and the press because there's little chance of improving their situation and a huge potential for a fatal mistake.

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg finds herself in that exact situation. According to our Eyes, the incumbent DA is playing defense and has just recently canceled a scheduled debate with challenger Lisa Torraco. The debate was to be taped today at PBS affiliate KNME TV (channel 5).

Brandenburg's cancellation marks the second time the DA has backed out of a debate with challenger Torraco. The first time Brandenburg didn't even bother to call ahead she simply failed to show up.

Meanwhile, our Eyes tell us that the District Attorney is making the local small meeting circuit where she can talk to groups, look official, and never be challenged. According to our Eyes, DA Brandenburg loves to tout her plea-bargaining program where offenders are almost instantaneously offered a plea. The DA claims that some 60% of these plea offers are turned down, but that means 40% are accepted.

Brandenburg's rational is that by offering an early plea she is reducing the burden on an already overburdened court system - which may be true. But her primary function as DA is not to reduce the burden on the courts but to make sure that criminals are prosecuted for their crimes.

We have always maintained that jail time isn't about punishment or rehabilitation - it's about keeping criminals who would victimize the innocent out of society. Prison gives a kind of absolute protection for the rest of us. Qui Feng Chen found out the hard way what can happen if criminals are allowed to run loose.

In July, Ms. Chen was allegedly killed by Donte Power, who our Eyes tell us had been arrested May 19th for DWI and cocaine possession. We wonder whether a quick plea ultimately cost Ms. Chen her life.

What we're talking about here is judgment. A district attorney has a tremendous amount of discretion when it comes to prosecution. If a DA feels that there's not a strong case, then it will never see a grand jury. In our opinion, District Attorney Brandenburg has a number of questions to answer about cases that she either chose to prosecute or chose not to.

I. Ms. Brandenburg pursued mentally retarded Robert Gonzalez for three years despite over 60 scientific tests that failed to link him to the crime scene and two APD officers disputing parts of Gonzalez' "confession" - a confession that was thrown out by the court. Ultimately, the CODIS system found a DNA match to Mexican national Israel Diaz and Gonzalez was released after serving 3 years in jail (Subscription).

II. In the Elton John Richard case, DA Brandenburg insisted on prosecuting a decorated Marine for attempting to detain Daniel Romero - a convicted felon - after Romero attempted to steal Richard's Bronco. Unfortunately, Romero died in the altercation when he attempted to attack Richard one too many times. Our first post on the story was called Choices. We maintained that Romero chose to attempt to steal Richard's, he chose to flee justice, he chose to attack Richard that last fatal time, and Brandenburg chose to prosecute Richard to the fullest extent of the law regardless of the circumstances.

III. Initially, the DA's office chose not to pursue charges against former officer Ben Kirby for his role in the Jason Daskalos DWI paddy wagon escape attempt. A year later, just after Kirby filed suit to get his job back the DA's office indicts the dismissed officer. No matter how you slice it Brandenburg did the City of Albuquerque a favor (and perhaps The Almighty Alcalde) by indicting Kirby (read it here). It's hard to sue to get your law enforcement job back when under indictment.

IV. DWI and Domestic violence charges are the only misdemeanor offences prosecuted by the DA's office. Our Eyes tell us that DWI cases - even aggravated DWI cases - are routinely dismissed because the DA's office fails to prosecute the offenders within the required 6 months.

V. The case of Dr. Michael Flax whose DWI arrest was plead down to careless driving even though he'd been involved in an accident and blown a .08/.07 after failing a field sobriety test. Dr. Flax it turns out was also Kari Brandenburg's doctor (read it here).
So you see, the DA has a number of questions to answer - questions that are most properly asked in public and during an election. However, Brandenburg has decided to play defense and avoid uncomfortable questions. Since Albuquerque's media doesn't seem particularly interested there's little chance that she'll be required to answer any of them.


ched macquigg said...

Kari "Making a Difference" Brandenburg is a joke.

She has not prosecuted a single case of public corruption in her entire tenure as DA.

She has been sitting on evidence of public corruption in the leadership of the APS, and Darren White's BCSO, for more than a year.

She is completely incompetent.

No wonder she is in hiding.

Anonymous said...

I have been a police officer for 16 years and have never seen such a liberal DA. The 3 strikes law has been in the books for years, and she has never used it. The death penalty has never been used in Bernalillo County. She is a joke. Lisa Torraco for DA

Anonymous said...

The only problem with Brandenberg and her Band of Bleeding Hearts is that they should be running the Public Defender's Office.

Like Palin said about terrorists, there are two perspectives. One says stop crime and terror. The other bites their nails down to the nub worrying about the terrorist's constitutional rights while freaks go free.

Criminals and terrorists aren't citizens. They're out to get us. So sure, worry about how the Constitution applies to them, Kari.

Brandenberg and Company need to go. They've done enough damage.

The Eye should also remember John Hyde and the assistant DA who got popped for DWI.

More great work from Kari Brandenberg.

Vote Torraco.

Anonymous said...

She's Marty's cronie!

Anonymous said...

Lisa Torraco should insist KNME proceed and employ the "empty chair" gambit. By refusing to appear, Kari is denying Lisa much needed public exposure.

Anonymous said...

The case that really riled me was the UNM Mexican flag burning incident. It is a case study for political correctness trumping common sense. I'm sure the DA's office spent thousands of dollars prosecuting a case with a monetary value of less than $20.

Anonymous said...

Kari is a true public servant dedicated to the community and she has served multiple terms with distinction. She has never failed to show for a debate and the KNME debate is still being scheduled. I am not surprised to see the Republicans spreading lies and Democrats just need to become more comfortable pointing them out. Kari serves with a passion and is running for DA to continue that service--not because she needs a job.

Anonymous said...

Good old Kari doing things her way. It's like ex-apd officer camacho, she said over and over in the paper that she was going to send this case to a priliminary hearing and then all of a sudden she sends it to grand jury. But before it goes to grand jury she has a special meeting with the chief and homicide detectives demanding an arrest warrant for him a year later. Thats the kind of person that's heading the district attorney's office. It's time for Torraco

Anonymous said...

I'd have no problem with your opinions, if you provided some support as to why the republican is more qualified. Without some sort of argument, your point is insane. Elect out a person who with whom you know where you stand for a person that you have no idea about. It's not like she's done anything to tell the electorate what she will do.

Anonymous said...

If you are an APD officer you should rally around "Whoever is runnig against Kari" she has pimped out her position to associations and back door deals i.e. (Martin Chavez, Nick Bakass). She went after Kirby out of shear political expediancy. Do I agree with what he did? NO! Termination is outta the question though. Desk duty, 90 days leave w/ out pay someother severe punishement is just. Chief Schultz, and Marty used her position to indicte Mr. Kirby.

Anonymous said...

Huge missing point here, whomever is the DA needs a bunch more staff and to do something to keep them. Look at how few folks really stay there 25 years as prosecutors!! The ones that do you can count on one hand and they are all true believers in what they do! The populace does not want to pay more to an attorney but in this county you are going to have to, to keep the good ones from leaving to greener pastures. I am a lifelong Republican but voting for anyone from either party affiliation who has done criminal defense work is truly galling.
As an aside, as a [retired] officer, one thing I'd love to see is when a case is dismissed because of backlog I'd like to see the Nolle pros paperwork report that. I grew so weary of seeing things like "bad search" (in a case where an item was abandoned on a public street) or some other wording throwing it back on an officer when in fact they [the ADA]were just overwhelmed with case load. In 23 years that was the only issue I ever had w/that office or with Ms Brandenberg.
Although some would disagree, Schwartz was the best DA we ever had, that guy should have been mayor, but at least he made judge.

Anonymous said...

Whomever wants proof about Kari, gee lets look at the Metro records. She is a total political puppy. She tells Kirby no criminal charges are going to be filed, then when it hits the news, hes magically indicted. There is a heavily decorated Marine(and APD cop) that was involved in a felony domestic incident. The officer admitted what he did (not to mention there were witnesses and photographs) and not a darn thing was done to him.

Anonymous said...

Does it really matter? All politicians are corrupt! The Mayor, the Sheriff(Especially the Sheriff) The D.A. You think they do it because of the fringe benefits?? wake up, when we vote people into office, we just vote for the best con-artist.

Anonymous said...

Yes and in New Mexico we are deeply entrenched in the patron system. No matter what a person's intentions when they take office, sooner or later the "patron system" takes over and poof! suddenly they become part of that good ol' boy back-room wheeling and dealing network.....Lisa will be no different...& yeah, I'm bitter. So what! I'm just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Hey eye they fired Guzman yesterday. I think ts ridiculous, whats your view?

The untruthfulness factor came into play and it was determined he needed to be terminated.

Anonymous said...

Your drumming of Ms. Brandenburg on the Richard case misstates the facts and misses the point.

First, Mr. Richard was not arrested for “attempting to detain” Daniel Romero. He was arrested for chasing him down for 1/4 mile then shooting him. No doubt, Mr. Richard’s impeccable record and Mr. Romero’s criminal intent were strong mitigating factors. But, Ms. Brandenburg did what ANY responsible DA would do presented with those uncommon circumstances: she presented the case to a grand jury to determine if probable cause existed. It was the grand jury—ordinary citizens like you and me—that determined that Mr. Richard’s actions went beyond what the law of self defense allows. If the grand jury did not so conclude, there would be no case. They did, so there was.

Reading nothing but your diatribes, one would conclude that after the grand jury indicted Mr. Richard, Kari Brandenburg then railroaded him into a conviction. Not once have you mentioned that Mr. Richard retained one of the most experienced, most well respected, most capable, most celebrated, and most knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys in the state. After thoroughly reviewing the evidence against Mr. Richard, the accomplished defense attorney MUST have concluded that a jury of Mr. Richard’s peers may convict him of second degree murder. So, he did what ANY responsible defense attorney would do: he negotiated a plea deal for Mr. Richard that allowed him to plea to the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter. With the benefit of that deal, Mr. Richard appeared in court, ADMITTED that he committed a crime, and threw himself on the mercy of the court. It was the judge in the case, not Ms. Brandenburg, that initially decided to send Mr. Richard to prison for the crime he admitted committing.

It seems you want the elected a district attorney–a public servant sworn to uphold the laws of the state–to ignore criminal behavior based on nothing more than your approval of the crime.

I would submit that people like you---those that subscribe to the Charles Bronson philosophy of criminal justice--present a greater danger to liberty than does a DA that follows the law.

Anonymous said...

"Your drumming of Ms. Brandenburg on the Richard case misstates the facts and misses the point."
See...for regular people like myself, we usually don't have enough of the facts to really understand all that goes on with the justice system. I do feel like I learned something after reading your post.

Anonymous said...

Good post on richard case. Everyone talked about it and I suspect only a few of them know the facts from reading the case. Can't wait till a cop does the same thing, lets see what happens with APD IA and lawsuits that are sure to follow.

Anonymous said...

Please do not even suggest that Kari and her crew are competent enough to run the Public Defender Department.

The fact that Kari pleads everything down so low, or loses trials, does not make her a "bleeding heart liberal" or a wanna be defense attorney. It simply shows that she is incompetent to assess her cases and decide which ones are appropriate for trial and which are not. It also shows that she overcharges everyone. Kari needs to be asked for a DETAILED ACCOUNTING of her "convictions." Felonies are routinely plead to misdemeanors, usually because they should have been charged as such anyway! Kari is simply not smart enough to distinguish who to charge, with what, and how to prosecute them. There were almost 100 people arraigned on new charges yesterday, and another 100 on Friday. Judge Schwartz at one point demanded that the supervisor of a particular division come to court and explain why a case was charged as a felony. Even the judges can see that Kari is overcharging. Doing so means that she can't allocate resources to the cases that desperately need the resources. It's true that money can buy an acquittal here in ABQ, so long as the defense has more money than the state to hire experts, etc. The state doesn't pony up the money for experts. How can they when they are indicting HUNDREDS of people each week, many of whom should have been charged in Metro Court.

Please, please, someone make her give an accurate accounting of what these "convictions" are and what they were originally charged as.

I don't know how anyone can take Kari Brandenberg seriously as a prosecutor, or a lawyer for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Justice is backward in Albuquerque. You can get away with murder but "watch it" if you get intangled with the current Patrons of the system. ex. Kirby/Daskalos and the burning of the flag cases. These cases seem to take a higher priority for the present D. A. and police chief. She has allowed murders to plea deal at the expense of the victim and their families.