On May 17, 2019, the online news organization ABQ Reports published an investigative report written by its editor Dennis Domrzalski and retired, former Albuquerque Police Sargent Dan Klein. Channel 4 Investigative Reports also did an investigative report on the same day that was an abbreviated version of the ABQ Report article.
Following are both articles with links to the reports and Commentary and Analysis:
May 17, 2019, ABQ REPORTS ARTICLE
ABQ Report HEADLINES: DA Raul Torrez’s office blew previous case against man now accused of killing UNM ball player
– TORREZ’S OFFICE FAILED TO COMPLY WITH COURT DEADLINES IN THE CASE, FAILED TO ARRANGE FOR WITNESS INTERVIEWS AND FAILED TO RESPOND TO DEFENSE MOTIONS IN THE 2017 CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST DARIAN BASHIR.
– JUDGE SAID DA’S OFFICE WAS “CULPABLE” IN FAILING TO COMPLY WITH COURT ORDERS.
– TORREZ SAID CASE WAS DISMISSED BECAUSE WITNESS REFUSED TO TESTIFY. BUT THE JUDGE SAID SHE WASN’T INFORMED OF WITNESS PROBLEMS UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE.
– IDIOT AND HYSTERICAL MEMBERS OF THE NEWS MEDIA BUY INTO TORREZ’S MISREPRESENTATIONS.
Listen to the hysterical talk radio hosts and TV reporters and you get the idea that a man accused of murdering a UNM baseball player was on the streets for a 2017 arrest because a criminal-loving judge freed him just because the judge has no regard for the community’s safety.
But it was Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez’s office that screwed up the 2017 case against Darian Bashir so badly that a judge had to dismiss the criminal charges against Bashir, who is now accused of fatally shooting the UNM player, 23-year-old Jackson Weller.
Had Torrez’s office successfully prosecuted Bashir for the 2017 shooting, then he probably would not have been on the streets of Albuquerque in 2019, to be accused of shooting at others (February) and murder (May). Simply stated, those two violent crimes did not need to happen had Torrez’s not screwed up the 2017 case so badly that the charge was dismissed.
And just so reporters at KOAT, KRQE, KOB and talk show screamers understand, when charges are dismissed you aren’t guilty. Judges can’t (and shouldn’t) use dismissed charges to hold people in jail. Will we hear Bob Clark scream, or Nancy Laflin investigate this? That doesn’t make for ratings, they are looking for “outrage” so they can get more viewers / listeners to pump up their stations advertising dollars. Truth and knowledge be damned. It’s all about the money.
Torrez’s office failed to comply with court deadlines in the case, failed to arrange for witness interviews and failed to respond to defense motions, according to a Jan. 22, 2019, decision in the case by state District Court Judge Cindy Leos.
Here’s Judge Leos’s five-page order. It’s only five pages, read instead of listening to the lies and half-truths on talk radio and TV:
And it’s lies, and maybe even one-sixteenth truths, that the media and Torrez’s office are peddling in the case. Torrez is doing the peddling, apparently to cover up his office’s incompetence and its failure to properly serve the public, and the news media, especially the hysterical Bob Clark on KKOB Radio, is buying the half-truths and is deceiving the public,
Here’s a line from a recent Albuquerque Journal story about the 2017 case involving Bashir that is misleading at best and an outright lie at worse:
“In November 2017, Darian Bashir allegedly walked up to a young man in Downtown Albuquerque and shot him at point-blank range. The case was dismissed because the victim – who survived – didn’t testify.”
Well, that summary and take on things, probably supplied by Torrez’s office, isn’t what the judge said. Here’s the final  paragraph[s] from Judge Leos’s order:
“10. In determining the appropriate sanction under these circumstances, the court is to analyze the State’s culpability, whether the State’s conduct give rise to prejudice and whether exclusion was the least severe sanction appropriate under the facts and circumstances of the case … [the court finds]:
 The state was culpable in failing to comply with the deadlines imposed by this Court in the May 15, 2018 Scheduling Order.
 They did not arrange witness interviews by the deadline,
 They did not seek an extension of the deadlines,
 They did not properly request a material witness warrant,
 They did not file a response to any of the motions and
 The state had no explanation for the failing to comply with this Court’s order.
 The State’s conduct did give rise to prejudice.
This matter is set for trial on March 4, 2019, after and extension the Court granted when the State failed to appear at the Pretrial Conference on December 28, 2018. The December 28, 2018 PTC [Pre-Trial Conference] was scheduled during the Scheduling Conference on May 15, 2018. Defendant has been under strict Pretrial Services supervision during the pendency of this case and the State initially sought pretrial detention of Defendant. The Court considered the lesser sanctions, however given the upcoming trial setting and the issues discussed herein, the Court determined the appropriate was dismissal without prejudice.”
11. As a result of the foregoing, this matter is dismissed without prejudice.”
The judge said the DA’s office was “culpable” in failing to meet court-ordered deadlines. That means the DA actions (or inactions) caused this case to be released in January of 2019. Four months later the same defendant stands accused of murder. Have any of these reporters thought of asking Raul Torrez if he believes his office bears some responsibility for Bashir being on the streets instead of in prison? Hey Bob Clark, lets hear you scream about this on Monday.
Here are some other failures the judge noted about how Torrez’s office handled the case against Bashir:
– In November 2018, Bashir’s attorney filed a motion to suppress information in the case. How did Torrez’s office respond to the motion?
It didn’t respond. In fact, it failed to respond. It failed to do its job.
“The state did not file a response to any of these motions,” Judge Leos’s order said.
– During the case, Judge Leos “orally denied defendant’s motions to dismiss the aggravated battery charge and the firearm enhancement,” her order said. But listen to Clark and others and you get the idea that Judge Leos dismissed the case against Bashir because she loves criminals and cares nothing about the community’s safety.
And also understand this point which so many of you fools out fail to understand and accept unless you’re charged with a crime. Bashir was presumed innocent until he is proven guilty, because that’s how our system works. No one is guilty just because the cops and government say so. You are not guilty just because a PIO for APD or the DA gives a local journalist special “access”. An arrest is only a charge by law enforcement. In Albuquerque we have witnessed, over and over, people arrested, and publicly shamed by law enforcement and the media, only to have charges dropped or be acquitted in court.
But the crazed Bob Clarks of the world forget about the presumption of innocence when they determine that someone is guilty of a crime.
– “Neither defense nor the state were able to inform the Court whether or not the incident was indeed captured on video,” the judge’s order said. “Neither party knew if the police camera nearby was even capable of recording. Neither party knew if the camera did indeed record, what happened to any video of the incident, and no witnesses were provided to answer any of these questions.”
– The DA’s office never provided to the defense—as required—an audio of a photo array in which a witness identified Bashir as the offender.
– “At no time was a motion filed by the state asking the Court to issue a material witness warrant,” the judge’s order said. “No affidavit was presented to the Court indicating that the state was unable to secure the witness presence by subpoena as is required [by Court rules]. The state did not alert the Court in any manner that they were having difficulties with witnesses prior to the hearing date on Jan. 17, 2019, despite the fact that defense requested the suppression of these witnesses through his motion filed on November 9, 2018.”
Has the media in Albuquerque become so lazy that they are unwilling or unable to do any investigative research? Stories are fed to willing reporters and news directors, who drink it down like grape kool-aid at a Jim Jones picnic, by those in power (Torrez, Keller, Geier etc). These reporters are doing a disservice to the public and to their profession. They are “owned” by those in authority and that is not what the 1st Amendment was about.
Our local media, has in many respects, become a joke. But now that joke has turned serious as they seem to be leading uneducated citizens with misplaced anger toward judges and presumably innocent people. The local media is causing a hysteria of misinformation that unless corrected, may turn violent.
In regards to Bashir the media should be asking Raul Torrez, “Had your office not failed in prosecuting Bashir, would he have even been on the streets to commit murder in 2019?”
We are all waiting for this question to be asked and for Torrez to answer. If he holds true to his past, he will find someone else to blame. It seems to be how his office handles things. God how I miss Bob Schwartz!
The 2017 shooting case against Bashir was dismissed on Jan. 22 of this year. And it wasn’t because a judge hates the community. It was because DA Raul Torrez’s office failed to do its job.
In February of this year Bashir was arrested on another shooting charge. The judge let him free because he had no convictions and no pending criminal cases. Remember, because Torrez’s office screwed up the 2017 case it was dismissed.
The hysterical and Constitution-hating Bob Clark and others went out of their minds when they learned that Bashir had been arrested on a shooting charge in 2017 and earlier this year. Clark, Torrez and others immediately blamed soft-on-crime judges for letting Bashir onto our streets. But, Clark and his maniacal, screaming crowd always conveniently forget that an arrest is not proof of a crime, that Americans are constitutionally entitled to bail and that in America, people are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
And you can bet that Clark and others in the media won’t bother to read Judge Leos’s order in the 2017 case. They won’t because they can’t get their heads out of Torrez’s ass.”
Below is the link to the ABQ Report story:
KOB CHANNEL 4 REPORT
Within hours after the ABQ Report article, KOB Channel 4 Investigative Reporter Chris Ramirez essentially did an identical story to the ABQ Report.
The major difference in the stories is that KOB 4 secured an “on camera” interview with District Attorney Raul Torrez.
The Channel 4 story reported that arlier this year on February 12, Bashir picked up a felony charge for shooting out of a motor vehicle and that In September 2018, Bashir was also charged with shooting a man in the stomach.
The KOB Investigation reported that District Judge Cindy Leos dismissed the September case and in her order of dismissal she found:
The DA’s office missed deadlines
The DA’s office did not arrange witness interviews
The DA’s office did not properly request warrants
At least once, the assistant district attorney assigned to the case failed to show up to court
The president-elect of the New Mexico Defense Attorney’s Association Richard Pugh was interviewed and said if prosecutors had done a better job, Bashir’s February arrest could have been considered a violation of his supervision. This would have made possible Bashir would have been in jail the night he allegedly killed Jackson Weller.
When interviewed on camera by Channel 4 Reporter Chris Ramirez, District Attorney Raul Torrez didn’t make excuses for the failures of his office, but he disagreed that the failures caused the dismissal of the case.
What District Attorney Raul Torrez did say was that the the case simply wasn’t ready for trial and said:
“At the end of the day, we expect more from attorneys and we want them to be able to meet the demands of the case volume … But without cooperative witnesses, we’re not able to move forward.”
Following is the link to the Channel 4 report:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
District Attorney Raul Torrez says “At the end of the day, we expect more from attorneys …”. Torrez does not realize that at the end of the day voters expect a degree of competence in the prosecution of cases and management of the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, and we are not getting it. By any measure, both the ABQ Report and the Channel 4 Investigative report are about as damning of District Attorney Raul Torrez and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office as you can get. The Channel 4 report was nothing more than a deflection of bad management practices and a refusal to accept any responsibility by District Attorney Raul Torrez.
The findings of the District Court contained in the Court Order dismissing violent felony charges against Darian Bashir reflect a serious degree of incompetence and a level of malpractice by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office. It is malpractice for attorneys not to attend hearings, not to follow court orders, not to respond to motions, miss deadlines and fail to turn over evidence as ordered. In the private practice of law, such conduct would result in termination of an associate and perhaps even disciplinary action filed with the New Mexico Bar. Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez should be thankful the Court did not dismiss the case with prejudice or impose any sanctions against his office in the Darian Bashir case.
Torrez is now attempting to deflect his offices mishandling of the Darian Bashir case by calling for another constitutional amendment on bond reform. The constitutional amendment would require defendants accused of certain crimes to show and convince a judge that they should be released pending their trial on the charges. According to Torrez, cases where a defendant would be required to show they do not pose a threat to public and should be released pending their trial would include “the most violent and serious cases” such as murder, first-degree sexual assault, human trafficking, first-degree robbery, crimes involving a firearm and defendants who are on supervision or parole for another felony.
Under the proposed amendment, Torrez wants to incarcerate people without allowing the posting of bond or allowing a release with conditions pending a trial. Under the proposed amendment, DA Torrez wants to shift the burden of proof to the accused with a presumption that a person who is merely charged with a violent crime is therefore violent and the accused must prove they are not an immediate danger to the public or be held in jail until trial. In other words, Torrez wants an accused to take the witness stand, waive their constitutional rights against self-incrimination, testify and give reasons why they are not violent and should be released from custody pending trial. Such waiver will no doubt waive any and all claims of constitutional rights against self-incrimination.
Torrez needs to retain the services of the UNM School of Law and secure a few lectures on Constitutional Law 101 to be taught to the office.
For other related blog articles see the following links: