Preferential Treatment for Attorney General's Former Chief Counsel?
Santa Fe, New Mexico - On October 23rd, 2021, Santa Fe Police officers were dispatched to a car which had crashed into another parked car on a Santa Fe street. When an officer arrived on scene he observed a male subject standing near a car which had crashed into a parked car. The officer started to investigate the scene and noticed the driver had dilated pupils. It was later identified the drivers name was Matt Baca. At the time of the incident, Baca was the Chief Counsel of the New Mexico Attorney General's office working for Hector Balderas. The officer put Baca through a variety of field sobriety tests, and the officer had enough probable cause to arrest Baca for DWI. Baca was booked into the Santa Fe County Detention Center later that evening. It took a few weeks before other media outlets reported about the arrest. Media outlets such as ourselves typically have access to criminal court records through the New Mexico Court system portal that is more detailed than nmcourts.gov The New Mexico Secure Court Case System gives credentialed media, law enforcement, and law firms access to the criminal complaints, booking sheets, motions for the case, and other paperwork pertinent to any and all cases. Throughout ABQ RAW's case reporting we have reported on criminal cases to our viewers. ABQ RAW pulls the facts of the cases from court filed criminal complaints and police reports to give readers the best look into what actually happened. DWI cases like the one involving Mr. Baca are typically uploaded the day of the arrest or a few days later due to weekends or holidays. We have been searching daily since the end of October for Matt Baca's criminal complaint and charging documents but a search through all data bases within the New Mexico Courts portals does not return Baca's case.
The Odyssey portal showing no DWI charges for Matt Baca.
We spoke with Santa Fe Police Department on policy and procedures of officers uploading court documents.
Deputy Chief of Santa Fe Police Ben Valdez in an email said his officers turn in arrest reports for incidents such as DWI are required to be completed on the day of the arrest so documents can be provided to the respective Court in a timely manner. The arresting officer did submit all the paper work to the courts the day of the arrest. We asked the New Mexico Attorney General Office when they were made aware of Baca's arrest. We asked why the criminal complaint and charging documents are omitted from the Odyssey website.
A spokesperson said they were made aware of the arrest on October 25th, 2021. They also said the Office of the Attorney General does not have jurisdiction over the Odyssey website. The spokesperson went on to say: DWI is a very serious issue and the law should always be applied equally. We cannot comment on the prosecution of this matter as it involves an individual who was an employee at the time of the incident and is being handled by the appropriate law enforcement authority. We reached out to Santa Fe Courts on the paper work missing and they have refused comment.
Video of the arrest: