The office of New Mexico defense attorney Thomas Clear III was raided last week by the FBI. As reported by the Albuquerque Journal, it was part of an ongoing federal investigation into the prosecution of DWI cases.
That investigation has also had other ramifications — several police officers were put on leave and 150+ DWI cases were dismissed.
Of the 152 pending DWI cases dismissed, 136, or nearly 90%, were filed by three Albuquerque police officers, according to court records. One officer was responsible for 67 of the cases; another had 41; and the third was listed as the arresting officer on 28.
The majority of the cases dismissed — 107 — were filed in 2023, making up 10% of APD’s DWI misdemeanor cases for the year. Eleven of the dismissed cases had been filed this year.
District Attorney Sam Bregman was not pleased about the dismissals, calling them “a gut punch,” but that “prosecutorial ethics require me to dismiss them.”
The same day, the homes of at least three assistant public defenders were also searched, all in connection with the same investigation.
APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos has said “several” officers have been placed on paid administrative leave “while the investigation continues.”
He said APD had been working with the FBI “for the past several months on an investigation involving members of the department.”
There have been no charges filed or arrests made in connection with the ongoing investigation.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @[email protected].