Are we talking about the same Judge Vigil?

Posted: April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

District Court judge Michael Vigil uses his clapper during drug court on Dec 19, 2007. Drug court was celebrating its 10 year anniversary in this picture. (Luis Sanchez Saturno/The New Mexican)

I get calls, e-mails and read a ton of reader comments on The New Mexican’s website constantly bashing local judges.

The focus of much of that anger is State District Judge Michael Vigil and, specifically, his sentencing practices which some think are far too lenient and often give convicted criminals with drug problems every opportunity to rehabilitate outside of prison because of his firm belief in the long term benefits for the community of rehabilitation over incarceration., which doesn’t sit well with the throw-the-book-at-em crowd.

That is why I was scratching my head reading a Letter to the Editor in this morning’s New Mexican, which included the following lines:

Families are left to wait in anguish, waiting for the mighty hand of Judge Michael Vigil to come down with a decision. The only solution to Judge Vigil and our current system seems to be prison time.

Really? Vigil? Are we even talking about the same Judge Mike here? The target of so much anger from New Mexican readers?

While the letter written by a Sarah Patterson starts off by implying it is about the Scott Owens vehicular homicide case being tried before Vigil this week, it seems far more likely to me the highly-publicized trial was merely a way for someone with a gripe about the state’s Department of Corrections to air her grievance.

Here is the entire text of the letter (and a link to it on our website):

In the April 10 piece on DWI, the writer says, “Nearly two years after the early morning collision … ” — as if this is uncommon in our “justice” system.

Families are left to wait in anguish, waiting for the mighty hand of Judge Michael Vigil to come down with a decision.

The only solution to Judge Vigil and our current system seems to be prison time. Our ill-named “corrections” system will do nothing to rehabilitate the addict, who, left untreated, can wreak more havoc on society. DWI offenders should be held accountable, but they will only be released to continue using and drinking and hurt again. Our Corrections Department is nothing more than a barbaric place that does not rehabilitate the offender or help families heal. After sentencing, the families of the victims really don’t feel better, and the district attorney counts it as one more notch on his belt. Treatment, not prison.

Sarah Patterson, Santa Fe

I think if Patterson knew Judge Michael Vigil a little better, she would know he often says in open court his opinion of the prison system is absolutely on where there is often little chance for rehabilitation and a high likelihood of people who go to prison being locked into a life of crime rather than put on a road to rehabilitation.

Of course the writer also makes mention of the district attorney using convictions as “one more notch on his belt” leading me again to wonder how familiar Patterson is with the local legal system since the DA of the First District is Angela “Spence” Pacheco.

  1. ALAN COLEMAN says:

    Are we talking about the same Judge Vigil?

    I am sorry that Ms. Patterson is confused about the inheirent good of man. I am in the camp who is not happy with Judge Viigil. I am realtively new to Santa Fe (2 years) but it has quickly become apparent that the Judge would rather bond and release DWI’s as well as other crimes to be recommited rather than jail time.

  2. BAD BOY 101 says:

    my name is Joseph R Gonzales . I have been convicted of felony charges . I have stood infront of Honorable Judge Vigil . Life aint fair choices we make and places we happen to be at may put us in the places we R currently in all I cxan say is this MAN sees thousands of people from all walks of life . this is the ONLY judge that says if we hav any problems to call him direct to his home !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (which I did and He answered the phone ) I have been infront of 8 different judges in this state . I aint perfect I have lived my life the way I wanted . which inturn got me to meet all these people. I just have 1 question for ALL you Cyber Cry Babies What would U do if everyday you woke up you knew you were gonna see ALL the so called SCUM of society MON-FRI 8-8PM .Would you take it upon yourself to throw EVERYONE in prison or would you take it into mind that at that very moment that persons whole LIFE is in YOUR hands. would you be able to be RESPONSIBLE enouugh to see when someone needs help or just “blanket therepy” EVERYONE that dared appear in your court ????? FREAKEN CRY BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • WorkingStiff says:

      To bad boy,

      Guess what, I am one of those people you call crybabies. If this so called Judge lets one of you out to kill someone else again, then he has blood on his hands. Plain and simple because as much as there should be rehabilitation, there should also be punishment for those that continue to drink or commit felonies. Reap what you sow.

      • mike martinez says:

        No matter wut if the criminal goes to prison hell be out again but in worse condition then before cause prisons dont change a criminal it juat teaches them how to get away next time

  3. […] Court Judge Michael Vigil  Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Crime From Santa Fe New Mexican Nobody who spoke at an emotional court hearing Thursday afternoon wanted […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s