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System Failure (NM's Revolving door DWI system)
The Albuquerque Journal ^ | April 4, 2010 | Vic Vela

Posted on 04/05/2010 5:39:18 PM PDT by CedarDave

SANTA FE — The system didn't work.

If it had, James Ruiz might well have been behind bars the night of March 5 instead of driving a friend's Ford F-250 pickup truck on Cerrillos Road. And teenage sisters Deshauna and Del Lynn Peshlakai would still be alive.

Instead, Ruiz's 15-year history of heavy drinking and driving — and the way he skated with minimal penalties so many times — make him a poster boy for how the system failed.

A Journal investigation of Ruiz's arrests shows a trail that wound through a number of New Mexico courts. It also reveals:

The end result: Ruiz's running total of DWI offenses remained artificially low, helping him avoid felony counts and reducing his sentences. Despite four DWI convictions since 1995, he has spent little time behind bars.

And at the time of last month's fatal crash, he was out on bond for his fifth DWI arrest, which was charged as another misdemeanor. Authorities now agree it should have been treated as a felony, which could have had an impact on the status of his case — and his freedom.

Now, Ruiz is in the Santa Fe County jail on a $2 million cash-only bond, facing vehicular homicide charges after he plowed into the car carrying the Peshlakai family last month.

(Excerpt) Read more at abqjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; US: New Mexico
KEYWORDS: alcohol; drunkdriving; dui; dwi
Lengthy article with good research by the reporter on Ruiz's history of alcohol abuse and driving. But it's not unique here in NM; there is a case almost every week or so of an alcohol-involved accident that often kills others than the driver.
1 posted on 04/05/2010 5:39:19 PM PDT by CedarDave
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To: CedarDave

There should be no excuse for repeat DUI offenses.


2 posted on 04/05/2010 5:41:08 PM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: CedarDave
Here is an accident that happened on Friday north of Santa Fe:

Three people died midday Friday when the car they were riding in veered across the U.S. 84/285 median north of Pojoaque and struck two other vehicles, police said.

The driver of the black 1995 Ford Escort that crossed the median had a long history of drunken-driving arrests, and investigators said they found several unopened and broken beer bottles they believe came from a cooler in the Escort.

However, Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano said authorities won't know for sure if alcohol was a factor until results of toxicology tests are available, which could take two or three weeks.

The Escort was equipped with an ignition interlock device, which state law requires in cars used by DWI offenders in order to discourage further drunken driving, the Sheriff's Department said.

The driver and registered owner of the car was identified as Richard Dominick Rael, 29, of Española, who Solano said had been arrested on DWI charges six times, most recently on March 17.

Rael and two passengers — a man and a woman — were all pronounced dead at the scene. However, police late Friday were still trying to identify the two passengers, who apparently were not related to Rael, Solano said.


3 posted on 04/05/2010 5:42:32 PM PDT by CedarDave (Obamacare, cap/trade, etc. - all have the same goal: Government control and power over individuals)
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To: LegendHasIt; Rogle; leapfrog0202; Santa Fe_Conservative; DesertDreamer; OneWingedShark; ...

NM list PING!

(Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from the list)

4 posted on 04/05/2010 5:43:28 PM PDT by CedarDave (Obamacare, cap/trade, etc. - all have the same goal: Government control and power over individuals)
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To: CedarDave

...and Janet Napalatanio says: “The system worked.”


5 posted on 04/05/2010 5:43:46 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: CedarDave
Forgot the link to the Friday article:

Police probe crash that kills three near Pojoaque

6 posted on 04/05/2010 5:47:56 PM PDT by CedarDave (Obamacare, cap/trade, etc. - all have the same goal: Government control and power over individuals)
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To: CedarDave
I thought NM had strict laws on DWI.

Isn't it against the law to be a passenger in a car driven by someone under the influence?

7 posted on 04/05/2010 5:53:30 PM PDT by South40 ("Islam has a long tradition of tolerance." ~Hussein Obama, June 4, 2009, Cairo, Egypt)
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To: CedarDave

It is not and never has been about protecting the public from dangerous drivers.
Please, just try to focus and see how STUPID we are, and how well they know it.
It was and REMAINS ENTIRELY ABOUT REVENUE COLLECTION.


8 posted on 04/05/2010 5:54:06 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: nkycincinnatikid

I pulled into a lighted church parking lot in west Texas a couple of months ago to take a nap from lengthy driving. The local cops rousted me out, and because they said I had bloodshot eyes, skipped the finger-on-nose while on one-foot drill, and went right to the breathalyzer. With the entire force gathered around, I blew 0.00 and they missed their chance to get me for DUI. The way they talked, if I had as little as 0.01, they would have arrested me for impaired driving (though I was parked).


9 posted on 04/05/2010 6:04:15 PM PDT by CedarDave (Obamacare, cap/trade, etc. - all have the same goal: Government control and power over individuals)
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To: CedarDave

Yikes. I used to drive that stretch of road a lot going to and from Los Alamos.


10 posted on 04/05/2010 6:09:14 PM PDT by Disambiguator (Progressivism, Socialism, Marxism, Communism - it's all shades of black.)
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To: CedarDave

My girlfriend and I were on our way to Taos Friday and were just a few minutes behind the wreck north of Pojoaque. The cops and ambulances were still coming as we waited in traffic. YET, another driver with a history of drunk driving. Part of enforcement has to do with ethnicity in NM. A friend of my girlfriend, a middle-aged white woman, spent the night in jail and lost her license for a single DUI. Of course, she should have, but how are some many others still on the roads in NM?


11 posted on 04/05/2010 6:12:35 PM PDT by Jackson57
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To: Jackson57
A friend of my girlfriend, a middle-aged white woman, spent the night in jail and lost her license for a single DUI. Of course, she should have, but how are some many others still on the roads in NM?

She did not know the judge or magistrate or have a lawyer that did.

12 posted on 04/05/2010 6:22:22 PM PDT by CedarDave (Obamacare, cap/trade, etc. - all have the same goal: Government control and power over individuals)
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To: Disambiguator

You don’t want to drive the stretch of road from north of SF to Abiquiu or Taos on weekends or holiday’s. Or if you do, avoid driving at night. It can be a suicide drive.


13 posted on 04/05/2010 6:25:45 PM PDT by CedarDave (Obamacare, cap/trade, etc. - all have the same goal: Government control and power over individuals)
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To: CedarDave

Yeah, you’re right.


14 posted on 04/05/2010 6:27:47 PM PDT by Jackson57
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To: Jackson57

Is it possible LE have a bias in favor of Hispanics??


15 posted on 04/05/2010 6:29:31 PM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda" and its allies.)
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To: South40

Looks like it is a new law, this is just out today:

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S1498971.shtml?cat=500

“The judge’s dismissal order indicates new criminal laws can not be used on older incidents.”


16 posted on 04/05/2010 6:34:51 PM PDT by ican'tbelieveit (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team# 36120), KW:Folding)
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To: CedarDave

CD, put me on the list please.


17 posted on 04/05/2010 6:35:36 PM PDT by oldbrowser (The audacity of incompetence)
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To: CedarDave
You don’t want to drive the stretch of road from north of SF to Abiquiu or Taos on weekends or holiday’s. Or if you do, avoid driving at night. It can be a suicide drive.

I don't get out that way much any more since I moved to Idaho.

;^)

18 posted on 04/05/2010 6:38:38 PM PDT by Disambiguator (Progressivism, Socialism, Marxism, Communism - it's all shades of black.)
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To: oldbrowser

Done, you old dog you...

Whoops, browser, not bowser ...


19 posted on 04/05/2010 6:42:17 PM PDT by CedarDave (Obamacare, cap/trade, etc. - all have the same goal: Government control and power over individuals)
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To: CedarDave

Is this why my friend, who is living in Santa Fe right now, says the drivers there are the worst she’s ever seen? She absolutely can’t get over how dangerous, rude, inconsiderate, and stupidly they drive. They’re just inebriated?


20 posted on 04/05/2010 8:14:19 PM PDT by Auntie Mame (Fear not tomorrow. God is already there.)
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To: CedarDave

I know of a case where the defendant was before the Court for a 12th DUI. The prosecutor moved to dismiss the charge outright, and then tried to inform the Judge that since the prosecutor and defense attorney agreed to the dismissal, the Judged had no authority to reject the agreement. The Judge said nothing doing. So the prosecutor went to another Judge and got it dismissed. Then a 19 year old on meth and some other drug and .05% (the test after jaws of life extraction and careflight) was allowed to plead to Minor with Any BAC. He had hit a car head on. The victims sustained life altering injuries. The maximum penalty is 360 hours of community service and a fine. And he was already on probation for a DUI in another county. The “system” isn’t broken. It is full of people who forget their duties.


21 posted on 04/05/2010 8:14:58 PM PDT by healy61
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To: Auntie Mame

Auntie,

In broad daylight and typical traffic it’s certainly not uncommon to find drivers exceeding the speed limit in Santa Fe by 20 miles per hour or more on surface roads, not the interstate. Also, NM drivers are well known for running red lights ~ not even just changed to red but RED for like 5 or 10 seconds. Combine that with failure to yield right of way and you’ve got a mess. Throw in the drunks and there you have it....

When I moved to Albuquerque 7.5 years ago I was sure someone was going to either rear end us because we DID stop at red lights or T-bone us by going through one where we’d already entered the intersection. Honestly sometimes I look in the rear view mirror after beginning to stop at a yellow and I just floor it because you can tell the person behind you planned to run it and there’s no way they were going to be able to stop if I did.

I drive all over for work, from Dallas all the way out to LA and San Diego and there’s nowhere I hate driving the way I hate driving in NM.

I can see why your friend says that.


22 posted on 04/05/2010 10:39:03 PM PDT by leapfrog0202 ("the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discover" Sarah Palin)
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To: healy61

Too many powerful politicians’ children getting caught, I’d guess.


23 posted on 04/05/2010 10:43:53 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: leapfrog0202

I had an aunt in New Mexico who would always tell me they drive like idiots there. A couple of decades or so ago one ABQ radio station was airing a parody “Drive Like A New Mexican” (played over Walk Like An Egyptian). The aunt would tell me one huge problem was Indians who were accustomed to running their cars all over wide-open reservations who would then come into town and drive the same way.


24 posted on 04/05/2010 10:47:31 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Too many powerful politicians’ children getting caught, I’d guess.
__________________________

Not even that, but more involved with the fact that so many people in many gov’t agencies (whether state, federal or local gov’t) are related to others in the agency or in a sister agency. So everyone knows someone or is related to or owes a favor to someone.

As another example of how wonderfully people think here, someone in the college, can’t remember which dept. though, was publicized on the radio station during one of the more recent DUI blitzes as saying they were going to send a campus wide email stating that this coming Friday night was due to be a DUI blitz night. When called on it by the radio station, they said “well we weren’t going to say where the checkpoints were going to be.” Oh, okay then, as long as you aren’t going to warn everyone or anything! So all the people they were hoping to catch that probably usually get away with it got this nice little warning not to go out to party on that particular night.

You can’t win for losing, honestly.


25 posted on 04/05/2010 10:59:19 PM PDT by leapfrog0202 ("the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discover" Sarah Palin)
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To: Auntie Mame
Is this why my friend, who is living in Santa Fe right now, says the drivers there are the worst she’s ever seen? She absolutely can’t get over how dangerous, rude, inconsiderate, and stupidly they drive. They’re just inebriated?

No they're just typical liberals who believe that they are the anointed ones and entitled to do or drive the way they want and the rest of us little people can just get out of the way.

26 posted on 04/06/2010 6:54:10 AM PDT by CedarDave (Obamacare, cap/trade, etc. - all have the same goal: Government control and power over individuals)
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To: CedarDave

Good on y’all that you were not wearing after shave.
That conceit would have cost you several thousand smackers.


27 posted on 04/06/2010 5:27:31 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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