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Friday, April 29, 2005
Fate of Judge Accused of Raping Las Cruces Woman and Bribery In Jury's Hands
By Rene Romo
Journal Southern Bureau
LAS CRUCES A state District Court jury late Thursday began to deliberate Magistrate Judge Reuben Galvan's guilt or innocence on rape and bribery charges.
Prosecutors told jurors in closing arguments Thursday that the consistency of the evidence should lead them to convict Galvan.
But defense attorney Jose Arrieta countered that the alleged victim only claimed she was raped because she felt guilty about having consensual sex. Arrieta said the woman said the encounter "felt right" when it happened Aug. 25.
"The next day, she (the victim) starts listening to the angels, and it doesn't feel so good," said Arrieta. "Guilt it doesn't feel so right, so it's his (Galvan's) fault."
Galvan, elected in 2002, is accused of promising a Las Cruces woman he would dismiss a pending battery charge against her husband if she agreed to have sex with him.
Galvan also is accused of raping the woman because while they were having intercourse in his parked car, she allegedly told him to stop several times.
Special prosecutor Gretta Thomas pointed out in closing that the defense tried to call attention to the woman's flirtatious behavior when she met Galvan at a local bar while celebrating her 21st birthday.
Thomas said the defense emphasized that the woman agreed to ride in Galvan's car, didn't scream during the alleged rape, didn't try to flee on foot and afterward rode back to the bar with the judge.
Thomas said, however, that the law doesn't require a victim to be "free of any bad judgment to be a victim of rape."
That "foolish, consensual behavior," she added, became "unconsensual, forced rape" when the woman told the judge to stop during intercourse.
Thomas said testimony showed the woman had been emotionally traumatized by the encounter with Galvan and that bruises on her legs were consistent with the force Galvan allegedly used.
Arrieta argued that Galvan could not have solicited a bribe because at the time he was barred by the District Attorney's Office from hearing domestic violence cases. But special prosecutor Kathleen Wright said the charge of bribery didn't depend on his ability to carry out the promise.
Prosecutors also argued that Galvan had shown himself to be dishonest. They noted that when confronted by the woman two days after the sexual encounter, Galvan indicated he did not recall having sex.
Hours later, when a detective served Galvan with a search warrant and after talking to his attorney for 20 minutes, Galvan gave police a detailed account of the evening.
Arrieta told jurors Galvan suspected he was being blackmailed when the woman and a friend turned up at Magistrate Court to question him.
The jury of five men and seven women began deliberating about 4:40 p.m. Thursday.
Galvan faces up to six years in prison if convicted on both third-degree felonies.