Judge charged with DWI after car crash - Albuquerque Journal

Judge charged with DWI after car crash

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the correct spelling of Sidney Hill, a district court spokesman.

A longtime family court judge in Albuquerque was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after being involved in a car crash Wednesday evening.

John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy in a scene from "Stan and Ollie." (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics)
Judge Deborah Walker (Source: MDC)

Deborah Walker, 65, was in a crash near the 2000 block of Candelaria NW at about 8 p.m. A criminal complaint said a driver made a U-turn without watching for other cars and caused the wreck. An Albuquerque Police Department spokesman confirmed that Walker was the driver making the turn. She was also charged with failure to keep proper lookout, according to the complaint.

An officer said in the complaint that Walker smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and denied that she had been drinking. After taking off her high-heeled shoes, she performed poorly on three field sobriety tests and was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, according to the complaint.

The complaint said that a Breathalyzer showed she was above the presumed level of intoxication.

Walker was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center after midnight Thursday morning and was later released.

She has been a judge in the 2nd Judicial District since 1993 and was appointed and elected as a family court judge in 1997, according to the court’s website.

Sidney Hill, a district court spokesman, said Thursday morning that Walker wasn’t going to make any statements “at the moment.”

Hill said Walker didn’t conduct any court proceedings Thursday and court records show that proceedings scheduled in front of Walker on Thursday afternoon were canceled.

Metropolitan Court Chief Judge Sandra Engel said in a court filing Thursday that all judicial divisions in Metro Court recused themselves from the case and that the chief judge of the state Supreme Court will assign a judge to preside over Walker’s case.

Any disciplinary action taken against a judge would be handed down by the Supreme Court after the Judicial Standards Commission investigated allegations of judicial misconduct and made recommendations to the high court. No action was taken against Walker on Thursday, said Barry Massey, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Randall Roybal, the executive director and general counsel of the Judicial Standards Commission, said in general when a judge is charged with a crime or accused of a serious ethical violation the matter is handed to the commission.

He said he could not talk specifically about this case, citing confidentiality of the proceedings by law, but the commission typically then decides whether or not to file a petition for temporary suspension of the judge.

“The Supreme Court may sideline a judge administratively, temporarily suspend a judge with or without pay, pending completion of either the criminal proceedings and usually the commission’s proceedings as well,” he said.

He said the suspension is not a determination of guilt but simply a statement that it’s in the best interest of the judiciary and the public for the judge to not hear cases until the matter is resolved.

Roybal said the commission has dealt with a couple of judges charged with driving while intoxicated over the years.

“It doesn’t happen that often,” he said. “When it does happen it is of course a very serious matter for the judiciary and it is a very serious matter to the commission.”

Journal staff writer Elise Kaplan contributed to this report.

 

Home » News » Albuquerque News » Judge charged with DWI after car crash


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
APD: 5 teens charged in woman's death
ABQnews Seeker
Police issue warrants on murder, believe ... Police issue warrants on murder, believe shooting was case of mistaken identity
2
AG campaigns rake in big bucks
2022 election
Over $2.5M raised by Democrats in ... Over $2.5M raised by Democrats in primary race
3
Uninsured homes leave New Mexicans vulnerable in areas hit ...
ABQnews Seeker
Insurance firms unwilling to cover rural ... Insurance firms unwilling to cover rural homes
4
State starts delivering inflation relief payments to residents
ABQnews Seeker
Goal to offset consumer costs amid ... Goal to offset consumer costs amid inflation
5
Fire shows minimal growth over weekend
ABQnews Seeker
Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak blaze at 40% ... Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak blaze at 40% containment, 310,253 total acres burned
6
APD investigating homicide in NE Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police suspect foul play in ... Albuquerque police suspect foul play in the death of a man at an apartment complex off of Central near Tramway early Sunday morning. Gilbert ...
7
NEA grants 15 NM arts organizations $1.16M
ABQnews Seeker
The National Endowment for the Arts ... The National Endowment for the Arts announced its latest round of grants to arts organizations. Fifteen New Mexico organizations will receive a total of ...
8
Inn at Rio Rancho will reopen as apartment complex
ABQnews Seeker
Panorama Apartments will feature 102 units, ... Panorama Apartments will feature 102 units, major renovations
9
Burnout victim: ‘I cannot participate in the hustle culture’
ABQnews Seeker
Dear J.T. & Dale: I'm in ... Dear J.T. & Dale: I'm in my late 20s, single, and I struggle with several chronic illnesses. I cannot participate in the hustle culture. ...