Attorney: Criticism of client is unfair after Leland’s death

Posted: May 15, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Leland Valdez died Jan. 26. Police say he was beat to death by his mother and her live-in boyfriend. (Courtesy photo)

Santa Fe attorney Steven Farber, who has been quite displeased with my coverage of the death of Leland Valdez and who has never spoken with me once about what he views as errors in my reporting, wrote a “My View” 0p-Ed piece in Sunday’s New Mexican.

The “My View” feature of the Sunday paper is a great way for people in the community to get their side of the story out when they feel we aren’t doing so. I love the fact that our paper gives him an outlet to the reader to make his case.

Farber’s claim is that the newspaper, and me in particular, have been smearing his client’s name since the start of all this and letting the Governor’s Office spew erroneous statements about the case and about CYFD. As a result, he feels, people in the community now have a negative opinion about his client, which is the result of my reporting.

His client, CYFD investigator Donald Gallegos, was one of two state employees disciplined for their involvement in an August 2010 investigation into abuse allegations made concerning Leland Valdez, the 3-year-old boy who police and prosecutors say was beaten to death in his mother’s Pojoaque area home.

Here is a sampling of what Farber wrote:

Donald Gallegos, a low-ranking CYFD investigator, has been unfairly vilified in the press and community as a result. There is a need to separate out the political intrusion of the governor into state personnel matters from her comments about the murder case against the mother and her boyfriend. The murder case will show whether there is support for the criminal defense lawyers’ allegations that there is actual political interference with the prosecution of these two suspects.

… and …

The only logical conclusions are that the failure to correct these misstatements was a result of a callous and reckless disregard for the truth to support an agenda that CYFD was a bad actor, or a shocking lack of consideration about the impact of false accusations on dedicated CYFD employees, or inadequate reporting and fact checking by The Santa Fe New Mexican.

Here are some links to recent coverage:

  1. Abq. social worker says:

    So this attorney is looking out for his client’s best interest by running a lengthy letter to the editor reminding everyone who his client is and keeping his client’s name in the news attached to the death of a child? I have followed this case since Day 1 because of some very close association with CYFD (and am very much opposed to the Governor Office being so involved in all this). But I don’t think anyone who followed this story thinks of Donald Gallegos. They think of the little boy. They think of the mom and her boyfriend charged with murdering him. They think of the boys dad who has been in and out of jail. They think of the Governor playing a part in all this. They think of Gaby, the CYFD worker who has been the focus of all the CYFD criticism. But nobody I know of (many in CYFD) even know who Donald Gallegos is. Good work Farber. Keep your client’s name in the news for a story most people had no idea he was a part of. Keep reminding people he was a part of this story even though he isn’t even mentioned in most of the articles or in just about any of the Albuquerque TV station stories on this case. Not trying to get your name in the news for publicity as an attorney at all are you? I’m sure your client is very happy knowing you’re looking out for him.

    By the way, CYFD workers like Donald and the rest of us in the field (I am not at CYFD anymore) need help and I think the media covering this case has exposed some problems. I hope its for the betterment of the department and not in vain. These are overworked people who are in no-win situations. Covering the problems like the media is doing now is uncomfortable for many at CYFD, but it’s necessary if changes from the politicians (funding I mean) are ever going to come.

    God Bless Leland.

    I wish I could leave my real name, but on this topic I just can’t. Don’t know if that means my post won’t get published or not, but I hope it does.

    • geoffgrammer says:

      Sure I’ll approve your comment. There aren’t nearly as many posts here on my blog as on the newspaper site so barring spam, I approve just about every comment since this is a personal blog not overseen by the editors of The New Mexican.

      I’d prefer you use your names, but not a requirement here on my blog as it is on The New Mexican site.

      Thanks for reading.

      Geoff Grammer

  2. concerned family says:

    I agree with alb social worker, I have dealt with CYFD on two occasions with situations from two different sides of my family trying to get protection for my little nephews and nieces from abusive parents who are putting them in harms way because of extensive use of drugs and alcohol. CYFD has been no help at all. When calling CYFD to check the status of the investigation the supervisor I spoke to was more concerned about how I got her phone number than the situation I was calling about. She repeatedly interrogated me as how I got her phone number. She then transferred me to her subordinate who then started yelling at me and demanding to know how I got her supervisors phone number. Then when I asked the status of the investigation she told me it was none of my business. This is just a small example of how CYFD if failing the children of our state. Still to this day nothing has been done to help these kids. CYFD employees need to be exposed!!!!

  3. […] Attorney: Criticism of client is unfair after Leland’s death […]

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