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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:16 pm 
Yesterday I received my copy of the up-to-date SCPD report of their encounter with DA Francesca Estevez on June 11 in the parking area of the Office of Sustainability on Pope St. Having followed the lousy media stories I decided to wait until I received my record request (IPRA) and studied what turned out to be 41 pages of reports and other documents and 10 dvd's of Lapel Cam footage.

First up after the Table of Contents (not counted) was Captain Ricky Villalobos' 3 page simple review of the timeline of events of the nearly 2 hour circus. What I found significant in the review was Capt Ricky's documentation of Patrolman Leticia Lopez turning off her Lapel Cam 10 times. Ptl Leticia correctly calls in State Police and NMSP Alyssa Carrasco (1257) arrives, reviews the highway footage taken by Rick Ritter, tells him it won't be a DWI investigation then fails to take over the scene to prevent any conflict-of-interest that may arise between the SCPD and their local prosecutor, later stating to Ptl Leticia that she had done that in Santa Clara and it "was a real mess".

Having watched all 10 dvd's of audio/video it is my perception that DA Francesca was displaying often agitated and erratic behavior and it has been suggested to me that EMS should have called to check her out. Note that many have watched DA Francesca attempted, spontaneously and unsolicited (DWI) walk and stumbled all 20 feet of her attempt. What wasn't shown was that when she reached the adobe wall she turned and saw that Rookie Ptl Kyle Spurgeon was watching so she walked up to him and flashed the smile shown above for a split second.

Early on DA Francesca alludes to problems between the DA Office and SCPD. Either before or after that conversation Ptl Leticia tells DA Francesca how nice it is to see her and congratulations on winning and "I voted for ya". I remind you readers of the recent murder/suicide by a SCPD Captain and remind you that when the NM State Police were called in they immediately took control of the scene and dismissed the SCPD; this would have been proper procedure here but the responding NMSP refused to be involved other than to stand around fiddling with her hat.

There has been a criticism that the officers on the scene changed the tire but SCPD officers are being encouraged to be more community minded and friendly and help wherever they see help is needed. The SCPD cops tried and failed to change the tire even though moving the twice so eventually G&G Towing arrived, whipped out his own jack and impact wrench and had the tire changed in about 2 minutes, the Lapel Cams clearly shows all of this so why other media persist in mis-information is anybodies guess. The thing that was interesting was that DA Francesca relied on Ptl Leticia to tell her what was going on and whether she would have to pay G&G for changing the tire. Again no red flags" popped up, though I don't really know what Plt Leticia was really thinking but she remained oh so patient and polite. Again, the SCPD should have been involved rather it should have been the NMSP. Were the SCPD cops on scene afraid to be the ones that propelled an all out "shooting war" with the DA's office when all were aware of an already rocky relationship?

The SCPD report includes 3 court cases the ruled that police can respond with a felony DWI based on reliable eye-witnes report and a video is quit reliable. One court case allows the original contact to call in other cops to take over the situation which is standard practice here and would allow the case to handed off which is taught in the academies as "Police Team Concept" but the NMSP didn't step up when the attempt was made by the SCPD.

All that being said, there was a ranking incident commander on scene, Corporal Woods who was rarely scene on camera and never heard. Why didn't he call for more NMSP and insist that they take over the scene, why didn't he act on seeing erratic behavior and call for EMS? SCPD Chief Reynolds did make an appearance on scene and approved of calling in the NMSP then left assuming they would step in.

Because of a lack of "doing the right thing" by the NMSP the SCPD was left to flounder doing the dance with a potential and often real adversary, The DA. Tensions between police depts and the local DA office is a given as each blame the other for deficiencies like "you didn't prosecute well" and "well if you had brought the proof we would have", etc, etc.

We don't have the results of the NMSP investigation nor the Lapel Cam footage yet, I'm still waiting for a response to my Records Request, it may be even more revealing.

In my analysis there are 3 doors to open:
Door 1: She was drunk.
Door 2: She was on drugs, legal or otherwise.
Door 3: She was/is suffering from some mind/body malady resulting in erratic behavior, intermittent unsteadiness and mental lapses like not remembering where she was coming from, etc. that may undermine her job as DA as well as her own quality of life.

Unfortunately this situation shreds whatever trust and respect people may have had with the DA's office and the SCPD and now the NMSP.

As it was at least half of the on-duty SCPD cops were stuck, perhaps memorized inside a balmy Saturday on Pope St for nearly 2 hours with no resolution in sight.

This attempt to "do the walk" occurred an hour after the SCPD arrived on scene, clearly something wasn't right.

There was no blowout on the highway as speeds ranged from 70 to 100 mph.

 Author: JE1947
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:28 am 
Wow.Thorough analysis of the situation. One more clap for cop cams. They make clear what people who are stopped do, and what the cops do. If there was audio, I didn't listen to it. My guess is, this person is in over her head. It will be interesting to see if there are more incidents. if so, then this person's political future may be damaged. Not the first time something like this had nothing to do with side lining egregious behavior here and in many other municipalities. But, cop cameras are going to level the playing fields and every police department should be required to have them, use them, and have their material available ... the public is entitled to that ... good job, John.

 Author: mimbresgranny
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:37 pm 
Yes, it is important that we wait for ALL the evidence before we make judgements whether she is fit to serve. It IS clear that the Albuquerque news media were quick to try to paint our DA in a negative light. The reporting over the video spoke of things not in the video and not of others that were and 13 kept her picture over the road video so for all I know she was driving fine for most of it.

Yet I can't help but put myself in that situation and wondering what I might have done. The citizen who took the video and seemed to have a lot to say about the situation (one report that it was he who requested the State Police) so are they checking on him? After there was no traction for his story here, was it he that sent his video to the Albuquerque stations?

There was another comment worth considering, and that was "some man was following her". Was she afraid to stop in the middle of nowhere? I would have been and watching my rear view mirror, a lot, which might have affected my steering and I probably would have sped up to see if I could leave him behind, which she couldn't. He has admitted he was going 70 to 100 on Hwy 180! Does he get a ticket? That might also explain why she took 'the long way' to the place where police fill their cars and why she went there in the first place. Then this man was "driving around" looking for her? So he did have an idea who it was he was following? She is, after all, well known in the Cliff/Gila community.

It is also clear that she DID have a flat tire. That leads to questions about her car, is it difficult to steer with one low tire, does it have gauges like my new truck that read the actual pressure in each tire. When I had a flat those gauges allowed me to drive to a more convenient place to change the tire because I could tell there was 30, then 20, then 10 lbs of pressure as I went. With someone following me, though, I can see myself risking damage to the tire or even wheel rather than stopping to call for help out there.

Calling her "pacing" as practice for a DWI walk also seems like jumping to judgement. She is obviously on the phone and agitated, duh. They did check her drink and found nothing. The fact of ONE stumble after a turn as evidence of "drunk" seems harsh. I hope I never have to meet that standard.

If this woman had not been our DA there would be a very different discussion and we would be thanking the SCPD for their help even after they found they could not loosen the lug nuts.

Yes, there should be an investigation and it appears there is one. There are inconsistencies that need clarified. Did this man see her with a tire problem, pass her by, then wait and follow her to town? Do her various statements indicate agitation, confusion, more of the story than any one wanted to hear? (We all know she can tend to ramble on a bit. Is that a crime?) The election is not until November but will the voters, TV Stations, News Papers, etc. be patient enough for the outcome of the actual investigation or is it only our "first impression" that remains to justify our previous points of view.

 Author: crow
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:50 pm 
Perhaps you need to watch the Lapel Cams. A couple of points, as I wrote it was not one stumble but stumbles all of the approximately 20 feet she did the walk while, it seems, on hold and it was after an hour after police contact. The who that recorded the driving on the wrong side of the road and even running a truck traveling the other direction nearly off the road called 911 and reported a car weaving, not mentioning a name, unable to see the government license plate and calling the driver a he. Central Dispatch called out the State Police as she should have but the only one available was busy making traffic stops in Town (instead of out on the highways where they belong) so Dispatch called for GC Sheriffs response and 2 responded but didn't find her. It was Ptl Leticia who requested a NM State Police on-scene, and it wasn't her fault that NMSP dropped the ball.

Rick's video has disappeared from the internet, perhaps you are suggesting we "shoot the messenger" or "intimidate the witness" which may already be happening with the take-down of the video. I marveled that it was a miracle that nobody died in a head-on wreck as I watched the video that came with my record request from the cop shop.

I spent a good(?) 24 hours studying the video and hours of Lapel Cam footage and I stand by my accuracy and analysis despite what other media may report which I find despicable. Watching Lapel Cam footage is fascinating, it was like I was Plt Leticia and my voice was hers, as well as the other cops footage.

I don't "have it out" for DA Francesca but I am concerned about her well being so I included a "Door 3" because I give her the benefit of doubt that she was not lying about where she was coming from, Deming, Lordsburg or Gila and why she might be acting erratically?

With this perhaps you need to read my article again and more carefully.

 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:04 pm 
One point is illustrated here. District Attorneys should not be elected. There are probably less than 50 people in Grant County knowledgeable enough to have an informed opinion about the DA. I am not one of them. Many of the informed people (mostly cops, lawyers, and criminals) might vote for their self-interest rather than the public interest. A lot of people, including myself, voting on prejudice based on very limited information. The same goes for judges.

How should DAs and judges be appointed? I don't know. But not like this.


 Author: JE1947
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:32 pm 
If the case is now being swept under the rug ... videos are "disappearing" or whatever ... shameful.
The fact is: stumbling repeatedly and other signs of intoxication can be caused from multiple reasons:
Physical impairment that has nothing to do with drinking or drugging;
Over medication that is unintentional'
Intoxication to drugs;
Intoxication to alcohol;
Other reasons I'm not smart enough to understand.
HOWEVER, when this was a case of a publicly elected official, in broad daylight, and there was video of the person nearly hitting someone in the middle of the daytime, wherever within the confines of SC, then yeah, what are the reasons it was so hard stopping this person.
Running the plates, more than likely, caused many a "Holy Shxt!" response.
Fear of never living down the bust of a DA.
Fear of not following some "code of silence,"
Other kinds of issues.
If, in fact, NMSP did not respond, there are NMSP cars all over the place in SC.
I've frankly never SEEN so many police vehicles in one small juristiction.
Police vehicles transporting from Hurley, Bayard, Santa Clara;
Police vehicles of Silver City;
Sheriff's vehicles from Grant County;
Forest Service law enforcement;
Probably reserve units on certain occasions.
It's very hard to drive from 32d Street by County Building, to: NM 180 W; NM 90; on through town say, to Hospital or Silver High School, and not see one or more police vehicles.
So, suddenly, what? Everyone disappears? A female cop busts the DA?
Cop cameras are going to be mandatory soon everywhere.
It's none too soon.
There are plenty of cases where people try their best to make the cops look bad.
There are plenty of cases where the cops look bad all on their own, without a bit of help from anyone else.
There are questionable cases. Multiple cop cameras have already shown different views of an incident which exonerated or damned the cops who shot & killed people.
But the days when cops in America no longer have cameras are done for good.
The technology has reached a point where it will be seen within a decade as a milestone.
Any cops who knowingly disable their cameras for a specific incident, will most likely suffer a consequence.
It's also very possible, now, for good or bad, that crime scenes are often caught on various surveillance cameras operating at other locations. Various TV series show this is a way of running down a time line.
In London, I think, it's virtually impossible to not get caught on more than one surveillance camera in the greater city. More than likely, post September 11, this will be more the same in U.S.
If there is a bona fide substance abuse issue for the offender in this case, then the County is REQUIRED to offer her assistance. As a former Human Resources specialist for the Department of Defense, after the first offer and entry into a legitimate alcohol or drug abuse program, the person with the problem who relapses, and is caught on duty, is generally fired, first offense (second). I agree with the notion that District Attorneys and even judges seem to just sprout up and run for office. Whether they have legal histories ... sometimes I gotta wonder.
My experience with PD locally is mixed. Some are very good and nice. Some know how to tell you you just screwed up.
Some want to exercise control. They are scarey.
That makes sense: that there is a variety and spectrum.
But the fact is: there are going to probably be more not less "intoxicated" people on the roads as marijuana becomes legalized in more states. So, that is interesting to me if the driver is acting intoxicated, but there's no alcohol involved.
Having "been there, done that" many years ago now ... I am grateful I never caused any harm. I was an idiot. I probably would've qualified for a kamikaze pilot in the Japanese Army during WW II. Funny, but not.
So, there are enough cases in NM of people with so MANY DWIs still driving, I'm always stunned ... this person had 14 DWIs ... what's that about??
Beats me.
I still say: thanks for doing the analysis. I don't believe Crow has any axes to grind with this person. If the local newspaper has shaved some facts ... it's never been the Washington Post in the 14 years I've been here.
No surprise there.

 Author: MineralMama
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:44 am 
I am personally frightened that this situation has not appeared to be taken as seriously as it should, as I have a dear friend who was returning home to Cliff on that very day/time (June 11) and had to swerve to avoid being hit head-on by Francesa Estevez.

Medication can also be the culprit in an accident or arrest. Whether it is an over-the-counter product or a prescribed medication that makes the driver drowsy, it shouldn't be taken before driving a car. Warnings on medications are there for the safety of the driver & other drivers on the road. If a driver becomes drowsy or lightheaded from an over-the-counter cold medication and then gets behind the wheel, they are risking a DWI conviction.

D.A., Francesa Estevez might not have been drinking alcohol, though she was clearly either: 1) under the influence of 'something', or 2) just plain reckless driving, in which case the investigation of accumulated reports, including the witness' full 4:58 video (link below) should reveal such.

If nothing is done & this incident is swept under the rug, I'm afraid this D.A. and both law enforcement agencies will lose much credibility with the general public, as well as potential criminals in Grant County.

Please take the time to watch (and FORWARD) the witness' clip & read the following report. Thank you.

http://krqe.com/2016/06/24/video-shows- ... -attorney/[/url]

 Author: frances
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:53 am 
Just a few alternate possibilities:

Low blood sugar, diabetic ...diagnosed or undiagnosed
Dehydration/heat stroke

 Author: crow
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:43 pm 
Yes Frances, many possibilities hence my Door 3.

 Author: MineralMama
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:33 am 
Frances, all the more reason a breathalyzer test should've been administered on the scene, or a blood test drawn at GRMC. If that had been either me or you, you know the outcome would've been different.

 Author: MineralMama
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:32 pm 
If Francesca Estevez can’t be truthful with law enforcement, what makes you think she will tell the truth as our D.A.?
Very disappointing to say the least. Guess, Christmas came early for her!

 Author: crow
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 1:10 pm 
My first records request to the NMSP concerning this matter their investigation was still ongoing and I simply ask for lapel/body cam footage, "there isn't any" was their reply. Next I requested everything and they email back with "Ok it's ready, send a check or money order"; I called them and said I always payed with a debit card and she said "recently we stopped taking debit and credit cards but you cn walk in and pay". This is a real disadvantage to media down here as a car round trip to Santa Fe is 12+ hours.

The upshot is that the NMSP don't have body cams nor body audio recorders, only dash cams behind their darkened windshield. Media up north are reporting that the NMSP officer was reprimanded but not fired.

 Author: mimbresgranny
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:26 pm 
I'm not trying to exonerate her, I am worried about what standard I or someone else might be held to. It just seems we are very quick to convict here. I appreciate Crow's effort to provide the information and his review does not make a judgement - noting the "3 doors" of possibilities. It is the conversation that is bothering me. There is a person's reputation and career that is the topic as well as our good Officers being accused with preferential treatment. I am asking that we not decide this 'case' before the the investigation.

I believe they cannot do a breathalyzer without "probable cause" and they can't do a blood draw without an arrest. They can't just make anyone blow into the 'balloon.' Since they didn't witness any bad driving and the drink she had was not alcohol (it must have been her 'slurring' that caused them to check?) and they didn't smell alcohol on her breath I suppose they had no cause to do more. Remember, the cops didn't pull her over. If the stumbling was an hour into the material, that seems like it might have more to do with the heat (or blood sugar) or whatever than her condition while driving.

I hope the person who actually swerved to avoid the car crossing the yellow line has contacted the authorities to be a witness. I suppose it is because I drive our narrow rural roads that have no shoulders every day and often pull far to the right and onto the grass because of traffic on the yellow line that I don't see this as "almost hitting" the oncoming car. It is an infraction and unsafe but are we going to give traffic tickets based on citizen videos? Currently the law says an officer must witness the driving and again my thoughts go to the known flat tire. I have not seen the entire video, only the portions on the evening news so I cannot know the time line. Since we know she wasn't drunk then whatever the cause is for the investigation. I also agree that it seems like there are police everywhere yet that man following her couldn't summon one. If he had she would have been pulled over and the tire dealt with on 180.

 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:51 am 
During the DA's interaction with the police, she must have realized, at some point, there was some doubt that she was not impaired. She's an experienced lawyer and politician, why didn't she just request a breathalyzer and put all doubts to rest?

From now on many people are going to think she was on her way home from a pizza party with the governor.

 Author: MineralMama
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:33 pm 
Mimbres Granny, a 4:58 minute clip from the driver who just happened to be behind Francesca videoed her from Saddlerock to Silver City, where there is no cell phone service. The KRQE news report, witness video clip & much more were posted on June 29th on this Forum. Please take some time to watch/listen to all of it. There is enough evidence that points to reckless driving for sure. By the way, the person who I spoke of who swerved to avoid a collision with her, also did not have cell phone service for quite sometime since they were in route to the Gila/Cliff area, which is why they could not phone it in. Francesca did not just swerve over the line once, but several times in both directions. Please watch the clip.

I also have had the privilege to watch the officer's lapel cam footage (over an hour's worth) & listen the the 991 dispatch recordings, when everything is put together you can see how preferential treatment (without a shadow of a doubt) existed.

If just a few of the following conditions existed for you or I, you can bet it would've entailed further investigation than just assisting with a tire change!

1) Excess speeds.
2) Swerving over both lines in lane of traffic (dotted-center line and solid to the right).
3) Questionable flat tire, which had nothing to do with her swerving, hence it would've been shredded long before Pope Street.
4) Grass/minor damage in front bumper, indicating she struck something, which probably caused her flat.
5) Immediately stating how nervous she was. (Why would she be nervous if she only just had a flat tire?)
6) Slurred words & immediately not remembering where she had come from.
7) Changing her story twice after being questioned by officers.
8) All of the above after just existing from, I assume an air-conditioned, car (can't blame the heat).
9) Trying to walk the line & stumbling numerous times.
10) No, she was not pulled-over, the police were notified via 911 calls that she was sitting at the
Office of Sustainability & they proceeded to her location to investigate due to the witness' account.

When the police officers arrived & saw who it was, preferential treatment immediately ensued.
Finally, may I point out that so far one New Mexico State Police Officer has been reprimanded for not doing her job!
This should tell you you something.

As far as the 'law' you speak about that officers need to witness the driving incident -- how do you explain the case of 4-yr. old "Lilly" Rose Garcia who was killed in Abq. in Oct. 2015 when a motorist fired shots into another vehicle. There were no eye-witness reports from police officers & yet an arrest was made thanks to a dispatch call & an anonymous tip from another driver who IDed the shooter. http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/22/us/child- ... e-killing/]

 Author: alan wagman
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:13 pm 
1. You don't get a breathalyzer by asking for it. Cops choose whether to do it or not, and cops have to arrest you before you are taken to do it.

2. Our rights are being eroded step-by-step already, even by the "liberal" justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, who are well on the way to saying it's ok to stop anybody for anything -- which shouldn't affect those of us who are white and have buildings in which to eat and sleep nearly as much as it affects others with darker skin tones or who are forced to make less secure sleeping arrangements. One of those rights is to not answer questions from or volunteer information to police who are investigating you -- and the right to not have your silence held against you. Even if you did nothing wrong and you have nothing to hide, if a cop means one thing by a question and you mean another thing by an answer, a police officer's misunderstanding of the Q&A can land you in jail, and maybe for a long time. (Welcome to America.) Silence is both your right and the best practice when being investigated by police.

3. As for the question about why could the cops make an arrest in the Lilly Garcia case without having personally witnessed a crime but not in a DWI without having witnessed the driving: When the offense in question is a felony, a cop can make an arrest upon sufficient evidence even if the cop did not see it happen. When the offense in question is a misdemeanor other than shoplifting, a cop can make an arrest only if the offense is committed in the officer's presence or if the officer has a warrant.


 Author: crow
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:47 pm 
Alan, in the response to my IPRA request there was a file with this:

"The Supreme Court of New Mexico noted the seriousness of DWI and felt it should be treated as a felony for the purpose of warrantless arrest. It held that the misdemeanor arrest rule no longer applies to DWI. An arrest for DWI can be made even though it doesn't occur in the officer's presence. City of Santa Fe v. Martinez (2010).

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