ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – More than a dozen Albuquerque DWI cases have been dismissed and there could be dozens more. The dismissals are a result of an Albuquerque Police officer being fired this summer.
Former APD Spokesperson Fred Duran is a witness in dozens of DWI cases, and in many, he was the officer making that initial arrest. Now, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office says they have to dismiss at least 19 of those cases because of his involvement.
“It’s unfortunate. There are some cases that involved victims of DWI with accidents and we had to inform them that those cases are being dismissed,” said Joshua Boone, Deputy District Attorney for the Metro division. “Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about that.”
According to an APD Internal Affairs investigation, Duran violated procedure and was not truthful about what happened during a DWI arrest last November, leading to those charges being dropped and Duran’s firing. The DA’s office says while it’s not unheard of to have cases dismissed when an officer is fired, this situation is an exception because so many were dismissed or called into question.
“This typically isn’t a normal thing. When you’re dealing with someone who’s on the DWI unit, specifically, it hurts a lot more,” said Boone. “It’s very much an exception that you have an officer go through something like this in this many cases to be involved in.”
One of those dismissed cases is that of then-20-year-old Jorge Garcia Rodriguez, arrested last December after police say he swerved in and out of the ART lane near the University of New Mexico. Court records show another dismissed case involved a serious crash on Albuquerque’s westside.
“It’s horrible that we have to do it. I wish that we didn’t have to do this, but as prosecutors, we have to hold ourselves to a higher ethical standard and it’s why we do it,” said Boone. “It’s doing the right thing. Sometimes the right thing is painful.”
The DA’s office says there are another 46 cases involving Duran that are either pending or under review. Duran’s attorney declined to talk on camera but says he still plans to appeal his termination in a hearing on Nov. 17.
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