Wednesday, April 15, 2015

More On The Cops And Kari, Plus: Jessica's Choice; New City Attorney About To Enter Bunker, Plus: GOP Splits Over State Party Hillary Attack Plan 

The decision by District Court Judge Alisa Hadfield to disqualify the Bernalillo County district attorney's office from prosecuting murder charges it brought against two APD officers for the killing of homeless and mentally ill camper James Boyd hasn't been very controversial. But there remains a school of thought with a lot of students who believe DA Kari Brandenburg was "set up" by APD.

That school teaches that after it became clear Brandenburg would be filing murder charges against the officers, APD went public with bribery allegations stemming from Brandenburg's conversations with victims of burglaries committed by her drug addicted son. The charges are being reviewed by the attorney general. A legal beagle involved in the police shooting cases says:

Judge Hadfield made the right decision. The DA was set up by APD but the "appearance" of a possible conflict of interest is the operative term, and that must be avoided in the important tipping point Boyd case. 

So what of the Boyd case? Not many expect the APD officers to be convicted of murder charges and with good reason. The WaPo reports:

Of the 54 officers who were charged for fatally shooting someone while on duty over the past decade, 35 have had their cases resolved. Of those, a majority--21 officers--were acquitted or saw their charges dropped. Jurors usually see the officer as “the good party in the fight,” said David Harris, a University of Pittsburgh law professor and expert in police use of force. 

“To get them to buy into a story where the officer is the bad guy goes fundamentally against everything they believe.” Most jurors, experts say, view officers as those who enforce laws, not break them. And unlike civilians, police officers are allowed, even expected, to use force.


Mayor Berry's nomination of Jessica Hernandez as city attorney gives the laid back ABQ city council a chance to ask some pointed questions about APD. The nomination requires two-thirds approval from the nine member council.

For example, what is Hernandez's view on the relationship between APD and the DA and the APD desire to exclude the DA from fatal police shooting scenes? What about barring reporters from videotaping APD disciplinary hearings? What about using private email to conduct government business--an issue she faced while serving as chief legal counsel to Gov. Martinez?

Hernandez will be entering a well-fortified bunker constructed by Berry and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry. The national media have pounded on it as has the Department of Justice but it continues to stand as witnessed by Chief Eden's refusal this week to answer media questions about a case of excessive APD force.

(Eden tried to quiet the storm by asserting he was limited in what he could say. He added that while he has turned over the case to the FBI he has not turned it over to the BernCo DA's office which APD has been at war with).

As a charter member of the Guv's machine it's hard to see Hernandez breaking away from the bunker. But she's not in Santa Fe anymore and the media scrutiny is much more intense--witness those New Yorker and Rolling Stone Magazine articles.

Hernandez is a 34 year old ABQ native with an up-by-her-bootstraps story, but if her plan is to join the bunker and make enemies of the media and the defense bar, she may as well make plans to take a generous sinecure at her old stomping grounds at the Rodey law firm.


The NM GOP says it is embarking on an attack plan against Hillary Clinton, highlighting what they call her history of "scandal." But not all R's on board. Sylvia Bokor of the tea party parts company with the state GOP:

Does it not occur to the Republican Party. . . that stressing accomplishments is more persuasive than attacking the opposition? Are they not aware of the recent studies of how attack ads have disenchanted voters? Do we not have anything to boast about?. . . Such as business people's creation of jobs and values which Republicans support? Such as the importance of ending ObamaCare? It is not gender or scandals or race that will win the Presidency. It is ideas. Until the GOP leadership recognizes that, we will continue to lose to those who claim government is the solution to everything.  Repeating worn out reports of scandals is not going to win votes. Showing why government does not solve problems is good. Showing how to reduce the size of government is better. Showing who in the Republican Party is doing that is best. 


Dem US senator Tom Udall has endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential bid. He tweeted the endorsement Monday, joining fellow NM Dem Senator Heinrich in backing her.

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