Domestic Violence Is Albuquerque’s Dirty Little Secret

After watching the newscasts of the shooting of a woman and the murder of her three children ages 5, 6, and 9 by her ex-boyfriend who then committed suicide, I had a real hard time sleeping, wondering what our city is becoming.

It is headlines like “We lost three angels” that make me so very angry and wondering why more is not being done by our city’s elected officials to address our increasing crime rates.

People no longer feel safe in their own homes, in their own neighborhoods.

What are we doing to ourselves and why are we not demanding more from our leaders?

As an Assistant District Attorney, I was assigned to the violent crimes division and prosecuted murders and rape cases, and even reviewed child abuse cases.

Years later, as Chief Deputy District Attorney for Bernalillo County, I had supervisory authority over all the felony divisions, including the Violent Crimes Division and the Domestic Violence Division.

What I learned as Chief Deputy District Attorney is that Albuquerque’s dirty little secret is that domestic violence is the number-one reason why a woman is admitted to the emergency room of the University of New Mexico Hospital.

Statics in Albuquerque showed that after about the 10th or 11th time there is a call out of the Albuquerque Police Department to a home for domestic violence, it is usually to pick a woman up in a body bag.

Studies reveal that domestic violence involving children usually results in the child growing up and become an abuser of their own children and spouse.

Children exposed to domestic violence often come from broken homes and poverty.

The Domestic Violence Division had three of the most seasoned and most skilled trial attorneys in the office.

The Domestic Violence Division had some of the highest caseloads in the office between 150 and 200 active, pending cases and one of the highest conviction rates.

Currently, there is no Domestic Violence Division at the District Attorney office and domestic violence cases are spread out over the entire office.

Albuquerque and New Mexico must find solutions to what contributes to the most horrific crimes: domestic violence, substance abuse, children living in severe poverty, a poor education system, the breakdown of the family unit, the failures of our social services and child protective services, a failed mental health system, an ineffective criminal justice system, and a failing economy.

We need to confront our demons and find solutions to our problems otherwise we will continue to bury our most innocent angels.

“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
― Aeschylus

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.