Why DWI Punishment In NM Is A Joke
By Jim Spiri (Guest post)
One year ago, on July 28, 2013, a man named Pat Davis walked out of the jail after a drunken night on the town. He had been arrested for aggravated DWI after crashing his vehicle into the back of another vehicle that was stopped at a red light in Albuquerque. Mr. Davis solemnly announced he was “taking responsibility” for his poor judgment. Rubbish and propaganda. This is what actually has happened in the last year since the day he walked out of the jail promising to “take responsibility”.
The occupants of the vehicle that was hit sustained injuries in the incident that won’t go away soon. Davis is fighting his responsibilities and the victims. More than avoiding his responsibilities to people he hurt the last year has been filled with legal and political maneuvering designed to allow Mr. Davis NOT to take responsibility. Six months after the incident and a whole host of back room hand shake deals with a bunch of Democratic political operatives, the perpetrator, Mr. Davis, skates out of the criminal charges by the skin of his teeth, all along while no one says a thing…..except me.
Now, none of this would be of concern except for the fact that if one has lived in New Mexico long enough, one will come to the conclusion that in this state, getting away with DWI is a common occurrence and maybe a very common occurrence if one is politically connected, as is Pat Davis.
Prior to that drunken night on the town, Mr. Davis played a prominent but fake role as a very vocal and outspoken critic of the DWI situation in New Mexico. A former employee of the District Attorney’s office, a former police officer himself and a one-time candidate for sheriff who campaigned on a (believe it or not) “get tough on DWI” platform, he was even the chair of Albuquerque Crime Stoppers which dealt often with DWI’s in New Mexico. Davis makes his living as the head of Progress Now New Mexico, a far left leaning political organization with tight political ties to almost all elected Democrats across New Mexico.
Progress Now is funded by dark money, shadowy, out of state liberal interests advocating drug legalization and union expansion. Progress Now and Davis are the full time partisan Democratic operations and head operative supporting every Democrat and every liberal cause, while announcing regularly and hypocritically the “non-partisan” nature of their extremely partisan Democratic efforts. Progress Now and Davis are famous for the headline grabbing and sensational and usually false stories about conservative Republicans and conservative causes. But Davis’ political influence and connections proved very helpful as he was able to get the his former boss in the Bernalillo County DA’s office to punt the case to the Valencia County DA, a notoriously weak prosecutor of the DWI cases in Bernalillo County, especially the politically tinged DWI cases.
Back towards the end of the calendar year, 2013, this particular case came across my plate after seeing some things on the local news. I decided I would follow this case as it twisted and turned and eventually “went away”. But on the way, I got a full on education about the broken system in New Mexico. I myself have never been arrested for DWI anywhere on the planet, nor do I ever plan on such a thing. But I do know that in my nearly six decades on the planet, I’ve lost some friends and acquaintances to drunk drivers. It is not something neither I nor anyone else should take lightly.
On the night of July 27th, last year, Davis plowed into a parked car at a red light in downtown Albuquerque on Broadway Street. A law enforcement vehicle was in close proximity to the scene and began coordinating notification of proper authorities about the incident. Eventually, the officers rejected Davis’ attempts to intimidate them “you know who I am” and his explanation for his slurred speech (” I’m from the South, it’s my accent”). Davis told the officers the smell of alcohol was due to his drinking “mouthwash”. The test Davis wanted to avoid, the field sobriety test was administered and Davis’ blood alcohol level was .18/.19, well beyond more than twice the legal limit for operators of motor vehicles. The car was impounded and Davis was booked into MDC for an overnight stay in which he could sleep off the alcohol level that impaired him so much that he crashed his vehicle, a 2008 BMW right into the tail end of a Green 2001 Ford.
The next day, the pious Pat Davis tells the media he is “accepting responsibility”. But he did not. His high priced lawyer contended in the administrative proceeding that the arresting officers were either lying or incompetent, or both. The administrative hearing almost did not occur due to “someone” losing or at least temporarily “misplacing” Davis’ paperwork. What are the chances a highly connected Democrat operative would have his DWI paperwork lost? One of the first things I learned when I began following what happens with a DWI case is that an expensive lawyer can delay things for a long time. Nothing that I saw led me to believe that our DWI problems in New Mexico will get any better. What most folks involved with outcomes relating to DWI here in New Mexico, more specifically related to Bernalillo County and Valencia County, seem to be concerned about is the pushing through the system whatever the high priced DWI lawyers want to have happen.
One of the other things I came to realize early on in this particular case was that fact that Mr. Davis immediately wanted to have his case bumped out of Bernalillo County and have his case heard and dealt with by the Valencia County DA’s office. I found that move odd, to say the least, until I interviewed the Valencia County DA, Lemuel Martinez, who happens to be a friend of Mr. Davis’. Lemuel Martinez is an elected official and an ambitious Democrat. The Bernalillo County DA, Kari Brandenburg, also is an elected official and also a Democrat. Both DA’s had to agree to such a move.
The next thing I saw as I followed this case through curves and bumps was that Davis and his attorney maneuvered to try to see that the arresting officers would not be able to attend required court proceedings. Reschedule after reschedule after reschedule ensued. Excuse after excuse kept coming out of nowhere. It was all a tactic designed to keep the courts jammed up to where the state—the citizens—the prosecutor—the Judge–someone eventually throws in the towel. By the time Davis was actually brought before a judge to receive the consequences that were due him for his irresponsible actions, the Valencia County assistant DA had been directed by DA Lemuel Martinez to accept a plea deal which startled the audience of which I was present. As a matter of fact, I actually videotaped the whole thing. Including the part where both the “prosecutor”, Davis’ attorney and Davis all pretend Davis was taking responsibility. Practically all arm in arm, everyone insisted there was really no damage, the DWI was only a .16 and Davis learned his lesson. Davis insisted heroically that he was taking “responsibility”. But where were the victims? Davis blew a .19 and somehow by the end of the proceedings, that reading was agreed to be lowered magically down to .16 and a charge of DWI instead of aggravated DWI. A backroom deal had been made at the expense of the safety of the good citizens of New Mexico, all because Pat Davis is a player in the Democratic machine of New Mexico.
This part made me sick. So, by March of 2014, a seriously drunk driver in New Mexico named Pat Davis, was off the hook with what appears to be no more than a slap on the wrist. Oh sure, he had to put an interlock device in his BMW, however, Davis was seen in the driver’s seat of another motor vehicle that did not have an interlock while all this was going on. And yes, unless the paperwork gets lost, Mr. Davis now has a record of sorts concerning a DWI conviction but, it is not the aggravated DWI conviction that should have never been plead down. The fact is, without severe punishment for the crime of DWI, the chances for repeat offense increase dramatically. Time will tell and in the mean time, the rest of the drivers in New Mexico will just have to hope for the best.
This would normally be the end of a story, but in this case, it is not. I decided to follow up on what actually happened that night. I tracked down the occupants of the vehicle that was hit by Davis and the occupants of another vehicle that was present at the scene during that time. What I discovered made me even sicker. According to the victims—-who never had the chance to tell the Judge their side of the story—-Pat Davis has not taken any responsibility for his drunken night on the town that endangered so many people. According to folks at the scene, Davis was pretty much drunk as a skunk when he slammed into the car in front of him that was stopped at a red light. According to the folks interviewed, Davis got out of his car and tried desperately to get the folks to leave the scene and said he would take care of it all later on. He then stumbled into his car and fell face down on his seat. What was the Progress Now Pat Davis response when the innocent driver and innocent witnesses asked him what happened? Davis played military hero and claimed to be ” in the U.S. military” and tried desperately to convince the folks to let him “get back to the base” and the matter could all be just dealt with under the table.
Driving drunk is one thing. Getting drunk and then hurting people in a wreck and trying to avoid responsibility are very bad things. But, for me, the most insidious and shameful thing that Davis did was claim to be a soldier in the United States military. For all of real heroes serving our country in the military such as my son and the sons and daughters of so many honest people, the last Progress Now Pat Davis lie should be the end. Mr. Davis should not be welcome in New Mexico. Drunk driving remains a serious problem in NM, but as a father to one son in the United States Army and father to a son who died as a United States Marine, it is this last lie that is intolerable.
Davis’ dishonesty knows no bounds. Taking responsibility? Another in a string of lies. Pat Davis taking responsibility for his drunken crash? Ask the victims, don’t ask Progress Now or Pat Davis. It hasn’t happened. Looking back on this whole education about following what happens to a person charged with DWI, I have learned a few things. One, if one follows a politically connected person that gets in trouble, the person doing the following may end up followed. This was my experience. The Pat Davis Progress Now philosophy is the famous Saul Alinsky attack dog tactics. Rather than address the many questions about his dishonesty and the procedural tricks and connections, Davis practiced the politics of personal destruction. Davis and his associates took pictures of my grandchildren’s playground in my backyard and printed a story about my “underground bunker”.
After interviewing Valencia County DA, Lemuel Martinez on issues regarding DWI in New Mexico, I was soon the subject of intense scrutiny by all kinds of Democrats and Democratic operatives across New Mexico including US Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and many, many others. I learned a lesson. If you are going to challenge the corrupt Democratic machine in New Mexico, even though it touches on a severe safety issue such as drunk driving and lying about military service, be prepared to be attacked and your character assassinated. There is much, much more that happened to me that will be left for another story when the time is right.
In conclusion, I took it upon myself to investigate what goes on with DWI in New Mexico, especially here in my own county. It is a joke. It is why we in New Mexico lead the nation in repeat DWI’s. It is also why we have a horrific amount of fatalities in New Mexico when it comes to drunk drivers on our roads. The system is selective as to whom it protects and to whom it does not protect. My investigation taught me that if one is a Democrat and a politically connected player in the machine of New Mexico politics, there is a good chance one will skate through unscathed as long as you pay to play.
It’s been one year since Mr. Pat Davis was released from jail for his for DWI in Albuquerque. The citizens of New Mexico were once again the losers when Davis was let off with the proverbial slap on the wrist punishment.
Jim Spiri, New Mexico’s “Hometown Combat Correspondent”, is a freelance journalist and photographer. Visit Jim’s website (jimspiri.com) to learn more about his background and work. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org