Notorious DWI offender off the hook due to prosecutor’s error (w/ list of his 30 years of DWI cases)

Posted: August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

John Paul Chavez, top in 2011 with defense attorney Val Whitley, and below in 2003 with defense attorney Hugh Dangler. (The New Mexican file photos)

Medical leave for a local prosecutor seems to be the reason a notorious repeat DWI offender had a recent drunk driving arrest dismissed from court.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: see detailed list below of all of John Paul Chavez’s arrests since 1982 and how they were handled)

The 11th DWI arrest of John Paul Chavez, with at least eight convictions to his credit including a 2002 case where he ran over a Colorado couple and put a woman in a six-week coma) has been tossed from court after the state failed for more than five months to make an official appearance of entry in the case and failed to hand over discovery in the case.

Chavez was arraigned Feb. 14. His case was tossed July 15 with his attorney still asking for evidence and still waiting for a prosecutor to take the case.

In Chavez’s first nine DWI arrests, at least seven of which resulted in conviction, he served less than three weeks in jail. He did serve the maximum possible sentence for the 2002 case (8 1/2 years, of which he did about 6 years in prison). The same judge (Michael Vigil) who gave him the max sentence at his 2003 sentencing hearing was the one that dismissed his recent case.

Here is a link to a far more in depth article from Wednesday’s New Mexican, including reaction from the DA and the victims of Chavez’s 2002 drunken dragging case at the Santa Fe Plaza):

Here are some related articles from recent months:

And here is a break down of Chavez’s 11 DWI arrests and how those cases were handled:

  • Dec. 11, 2010: New Mexico State Police arrested Chavez at 2:12 a.m. on southbound Cerrillos Road. A statement of probable cause for Chavez’s arrest states he admitted to driving drunk after leaving the Cheeks nightclub and refused, twice, to take a Breathalyzer test. He was arraigned Feb. 14 in state District Court, and his case was dismissed with prejudice on July 18 when state prosecutors failed to properly enter an appearance in the case. Result: No conviction. 
  • Sept. 28, 2002: Chavez pleaded no contest to great bodily harm by vehicle (while driving drunk) and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident. He was sentenced to the maximum 8 1/2 years in prison by state District Judge Michael Vigil and was released in 2009. Result: Six-plus years in prison. 
  • Sept. 4, 1999: Former Santa Fe County Magistrate Bill Dimas approved a plea agreement from the District Attorney’s Office; he fined Chavez $500 and sentenced him to 364 days in jail, suspending 357 of those days. Result: $500, seven days in jail. 
  • April 4, 1990: Former Municipal Judge Thomas Fiorina fined Chavez $300 but suspended $150 of that fine; he also sentenced Chavez to 90 days in jail and suspended 86 of those days. Result: $150, four days in jail. 
  • Sept. 27, 1985: An MVD spokeswoman in 2003 said her office had no record of this arrest ever being disposed of in court and no record of a conviction on this charge. 
  • Dec. 2, 1984: Fiorina fined Chavez $300 but suspended $200 of that fine; he also sentenced Chavez to 90 days in jail, suspending 88 of those days. Result: $100, two days in jail. 
  • Nov. 3, 1984: An MVD spokeswoman in 2003 said her office had no record of this arrest ever being disposed of in court and no record of a conviction on this charge. 
  • Nov. 15, 1983: Fiorina fined Chavez $300 and sentenced him to 90 days in jail, suspending 88 of those days. Result: $300, two days in jail. 
  • May 27, 1983: Fiorina fined Chavez $300 and sentenced him to 90 days in jail, suspending 88 of those days. Result: $300, two days in jail. 
  • April 30, 1983: Fiorina fined Chavez $300 and sentenced him to 90 days in jail, suspending 88 of those days. Result: $300, two days in jail. 
  • Oct. 1, 1982: An MVD spokeswoman in 2003 said her office had no record of how this conviction was disposed of, but said Chavez hadn’t had a valid New Mexico driver’s license since this arrest.
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Comments
  1. Wow, well I guess then it might be time for a public relations campaign to get photos of these characters to liquor stores, grocery stores, wal mart, etc. and pressure them to refuse to sell liquor to people like him. An organization like MAAD might have the PR clout to make that happen. SFPD needs to confiscate the vehicles he manages to get his hands on (to punish those who loaned them) without a license.

  2. […] SantaFeCrime.com (August 2011): Notorious DWI offender off the hook due to prosecutor’s error (w/ list of his 30 years of DWI case… […]

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