Santa Fe attorney Cindy Turcotte was released from jail Tuesday night (6:03 p.m. according to jail records) after a judge signed off on allowing her to enter a 40-day inpatient treatment program in Colorado for alcohol abuse.
Turcotte, according to a contempt order drafted by State District Judge Sheri A. Raphaelson last week, showed up drunk to a court hearing on Thursday in Tierra Amarilla. The judge, who is on a recent string of reminding area attorneys who is boss in her courtroom, sentenced Turcotte to 7 days in jail. Turcotte served five of those days before being allowed to leave to attend rehab in another state.
But what do you think about the punishment for essentially showing up to work drunk? Was it too much? Was is it an appropriate message to send?
- Read The New Mexican Article (HERE) for a lot more details on the situation.
Never in a million years would I suggest showing up to work drunk is OK, especially when you’re an attorney who was supposed to be working a plea agreement hearing for a client (which Cindy was scheduled to be doing when this happened).
But lets break down what is alleged to have happened here. She showed up to work intoxicated and got put in jail without bond for seven days (yes, released two days early, but only with the promise she will be attending a 40-day out-of-state treatment program).
Would that fly anywhere else?
Again, I’m not condoning what is alleged to have happened here. I say alleged because Turcotte has made no public comment and has essentially said through her attorney, John Day, she’s grateful for the opportunity to go to rehab. Putting the attorney in jail to sober up, maybe even spend the night and then getting the ball rolling on Turcotte being sanctioned or maybe even disbarred is one thing. A seven-day jail sentence for being drunk (not driving drunk, mind you, although I’m not sure how she got to TA for the hearing) seems awfully excessive. And if there was a history here of this happening, do something about it before slapping her with a 7-day jail sentence seems like the better option.
Even violent offenders with probation violations related to being drunk while out of custody or showing up to their own court hearing drunk usually get no more than a 2-day remand to jail for the violation, if that.
Am I wrong? Doesn’t this seem a little harsh and borderline excessive?
Again, here is the link to an article in The New Mexican about Turcotte’s release from jail to enter a treatment program: