Victim, Slevin, has won a federal lawsuit for $22 million and the county has recently settled a separate lawsuit for $15.5 million.
The jury’s verdict in the federal trial states that they found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the Dona Ana County Jail’s Administrator, Chris Berela, was liable for “depriving Defendant of his constitutional right to humane conditions of confinement…depriving Defendant of his constitutional right to receive adequate medical attention…(and) depriving Defendant of his procedural due process rights.”
I couldn’t find anything anywhere saying Berela had been fired or otherwise punished. And, of course, no one was charged with anything.
The DA whose office handled Slevin’s original DUI charge was none other than the current Republican Governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez.
Was she made aware of this situation? She was the DA for the entire time Slevin was detained. Did she see some kind of list of all the pre-trial inmates with their intake dates? Did she see at some point that this guy had been held for almost two years? One of her subordinates had to have been made aware of this when the DUI charges were dropped. Did that subordinate pass this info on to Martinez?
The state’s Democratic Party asks the questions:
The DPNM is calling on Governor Martinez and the Dona Ana district office’s to reveal what she knew about this case and how she allowed this to happen while serving as District Attorney – and to also account for her lack of actions in protecting the rights of Mr. Slevin.
Below is a statement from DPNM Executive Director Scott Forrester on this black eye for New Mexico:
“This is an absolute disgrace and total lack of leadership by Susana Martinez to let such a horrific action to happen under her watch. How could she let this happen, what did she know, and why did she not act?”
It’s good that they’re asking this, although I have no doubt that the state Dem party wouldn’t be asking this if Martinez were of their party. And I doubt the state GOP be asking these questions on their website any time soon. Anyway, I’ll be watching to see what the what else shakes out of this.