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Candidate fought DWI, license revocation

A00_jd_19aug_Question 11_rippyCopyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal

DAVIS: Running for City Council in District 6

DAVIS: Running for City Council in District 6

City Council candidate Pat Davis, responding to the Journal‘s candidate questionnaire, said he “accepted responsibility immediately” for his drunken driving arrest in July 2013.

But court records show that Davis’ attorney, Sam Rasheed, filed numerous motions to fight the charges of first-offense aggravated drunken driving and following too closely for more than six months before Davis pleaded guilty in February 2014 to a lesser charge of first-offense drunken driving.

Davis through his attorney also fought the administrative revocation of his driver’s license before a state Motor Vehicle Division hearing officer and lost in November 2013.

The motions filed in the criminal case were never heard, because Davis pleaded guilty first.

“I pleaded guilty at the first opportunity,” Davis told the Journal on Friday. “And I cooperated fully the night of my arrest with the officers.”

The sheriff’s deputy who made the arrest testified at Davis’ license revocation hearing that he had a hard time getting information, because Davis kept talking about how he had run for sheriff and “who he was.”

Davis, who was also chairman of the Metro Crime Stoppers board at the time of his arrest, blew a 0.18 to 0.19 on his breath alcohol test, more than twice the presumptive level of intoxication.

After his arrest, Davis apologized in a statement released to the Journal and resigned as chairman of the Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers board, which raises money to reward people providing information to police on selected crimes.

He said in the interview on Friday that the case was delayed because it took several months to get a Pro Tem judge and a special prosecutor appointed who had not had dealings with him during his days as a police officer or spokesman for the office of District Attorney Kari Brandenburg.

Davis also said the 35-word limit on the Journal’s questionnaire responses didn’t give him the opportunity to explain the situation in detail.

Candidate response

The Journal questionnaire asked all candidates if they have been arrested for, charged with or convicted of drunken driving. Davis gave this response:

“After spending 10 years taking bad guys off the streets as a police officer, a few years ago I drank too much & drove. I accepted responsibility immediately & I’m grateful for the forgiveness of family & colleagues.”

Davis – who is running for the City Council position in District 6 representing the Southeast Heights, Nob Hill and part of the UNM area – is a former police officer in Washington, D.C., and with the University of New Mexico.

He sought the Democratic Party nomination for Bernalillo County sheriff in 2009 and was a spokesman for Brandenburg from 2009 to 2011.

He said there have already been robo-calls about his DWI arrest and expects it will be an issue for mailings in his campaign.

“I think this case did get special treatment, but not from me or the system,” he said. “My political opponents gave this special treatment from Day One.”

DWI Bust

Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy Robert Bolin was stopped at a red light at Broadway and César Chávez SE shortly after midnight on July 27, 2013.

He was going to get something to eat after leaving the breath alcohol testing site in Downtown.

In front of him was a car driven by a Sheriff’s Office community safety aide on her way to fuel up her car. An SUV idled behind Bolin’s marked unit, waiting for the light to change.

Bolin testified during Davis’ driver’s license revocation hearing that his windows had been rolled up but that a driver pulled up beside him. When he rolled down his window, the driver told him there was an accident immediately behind him.

At the same time, the safety aide got out of her vehicle and told him the same thing. Her car windows were down and she had heard the crash.

Bolin got out of his car and found that a BMW driven by Patrick Davis had struck the SUV’s trailer hitch.

He said the accident was “minor” and that the trailer hitch had left a hole in the bumper of Davis’ BMW.

No rescue unit was called, Bolin said, because none of the three people in the SUV appeared to be injured or complained of injuries, although one of the passengers later filed a civil lawsuit.

Bolin told the MVD hearing officer that in his opinion as a deputy who formerly served on the DWI unit, Davis was intoxicated.

He testified at the revocation hearing that Davis “fell” into his car when asked to get his proof of insurance and vehicle registration and that he was slurring his words.

He said Davis, who was born in Georgia, attributed his speech to a Southern accent, but Bolin said it was obvious that Davis had been drinking.

Bolin said he was having difficulty getting information from Davis because Davis kept “talking about who he was” and “how he ran for sheriff.”

Davis told the Journal he was “terribly embarrassed” the night of his arrest but fully cooperated with the deputies.

“It was embarrassing for me, because I knew deputy Bolin,” Davis said. “He worked with my former partner.”

Davis said he did talk with Bolin about how they knew each other.

Deputy Johann Jareno of the DWI unit arrived on the scene and reported that he detected the “overwhelming odor” of alcohol on Davis’ breath, along with bloodshot, watery eyes.

Jareno testified at the revocation hearing that Davis denied having had anything to drink and that Davis said the alcohol odor was due to his use of mouthwash.

According to Jareno, Davis performed poorly on his field sobriety tests, so he arrested him and took him to the BAT command center Downtown at Fourth and Roma NW.

Davis took the breath test. He scored between 0.18 and 0.19 and was booked into the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center and later released on his own recognizance into the custody of a friend.

Davis was not present at the MVD license revocation hearing, but his attorney, Rasheed, attempted to have the case thrown out because of procedural problems, illegible paperwork and the absence of the community safety aide who wasn’t available to testify.

Davis said he assumed Rasheed was doing his job at the hearing.

Among other things, Rasheed argued that because a travel-size bottle of Scope mouthwash was found in Davis’ car, he could have drunk the mouthwash after the accident. Rasheed said in that case deputy Jareno wouldn’t have had reasonable grounds to suspect that Davis had been drinking.

The hearing officer, Jane Kircher, didn’t buy that argument and ruled against Rasheed’s arguments to throw the case out.

She filed written rulings on Nov. 6, 2013, that Davis’ license should be revoked for six months or in the alternative he could have an ignition interlock device installed in his car. Davis had an ignition interlock installed in his vehicle later that month.

Guilty plea

Rasheed’s attempts to get the criminal charges against Davis thrown out of Metropolitan Court were also unsuccessful.

The prosecution was handled by the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, because of Davis’ prior employment with Brandenburg’s office, and Pro Tem Judge Marie Baca oversaw the case.

Rasheed’s legal arguments concerning procedural issues ended before they could be heard with Davis’ guilty plea in February 2014 to first-offense driving under the influence of alcohol.

“That was the first opportunity I had to plead guilty,” Davis said.

“Instead of playing scheduling games with the officers or challenging evidence piece-by-piece, I asked the court to convert our very first preliminary hearing to a plea hearing so that I could accept responsibility as I had promised my family and friends I would do,” he said.

As part of the plea agreement, the charge of following too closely was dropped. Baca gave Davis a deferred sentence if he completed six months probation and six months of having an ignition interlock system in his car with random breath alcohol tests and random urinalysis.

He also had to complete 24 hours of community service, pay $325 in court fees and pay $150 in probation costs.

He was given credit for the three months of having an interlock ignition system that was installed as a result of his MVD hearing as allowed by state law.

Davis completed his probation in August 2014.

A passenger in the SUV filed a civil lawsuit against Davis and his insurance company. The case was settled out of court.

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