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          Front Page  news  state

Judge Sentenced After DWI Guilty Plea

By Jeff Proctor
Journal Staff Writer
          Suspended state Appeals Court Judge Robert E. Robles pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of first-offense DWI, officials said.
        Robles, 60, was allowed to plead to a lesser charge than the one he had been arrested on and charged with. The judge, whose blood-alcohol concentration was 0.20 percent on the night of his Feb. 16 arrest, originally had been charged with aggravated DWI.
        The state's presumed level of intoxication is 0.08 percent.
        Robles was a longtime district court judge in Las Cruces before being appointed to the Appeals Court in 2008.
        Metropolitan Court Judge Cecilia Niemczyk sentenced Robles to the court's first-offender program, according to a news release from Pat Davis, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office.
        That means Robles will be required to complete a number of conditions, including: alcohol screening, completion of DWI school and a victim impact panel, 48 hours of community service, a year of probation, installing an alcohol-sensing ignition interlock device on his vehicle for one year and paying court costs and fees.
        Davis said it's not unusual for the aggravated enhancement on a DWI charge to be dropped for first offenders.
        In addressing Niemczyk before sentencing, Robles said: "I accept full responsibility," and "I offer my profound apology to the public and the judiciary," according to the release.
        Shortly after 1 a.m. on Feb. 16, an APD officer saw Robles run through a red light at the Interstate 25 frontage road and Jefferson NE at about 50 mph without slowing down, according to a criminal complaint. The officer had to drive up onto a sidewalk to avoid a collision.
        Robles was charged with aggravated DWI and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center after his arrest. He was released on his own recognizance later that day, according to court and jail records.
        Robles issued a statement the day after his arrest apologizing for his "inappropriate behavior." The emailed statement also appeared to signal that Robles wanted to keep his seat on the Appeals Court bench.
        The next day, the state Supreme Court suspended Robles.
        The suspension was retroactive to the day of Robles' arrest. It followed a petition from the state Judicial Standards Commission, which is conducting an investigation. The suspension was set to run through the conclusion of that investigation and Robles' criminal case, according to the Supreme Court documents.
        Judicial Standards Commission director Randy Roybal said Monday the commission "prefers to let the criminal process resolve itself" before going ahead with disciplinary action in such cases.
        The commission's process is confidential until pleadings are filed with the New Mexico Supreme Court.
        Journal Staff Writer Scott Sandlin contributed to this report.

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