No Justice In Las Cruces

In a June 15, 2012 column I described a scenario in which Republicans could enjoy a landslide 367 to 171 victory in the Electoral College that is an embarrassment and disgrace to the state of New Mexico and to the nation.

Ms. Duttle cared for animals at her home, showering them with the love and devotion approximating a doting parent.

Nevertheless, the busybody “animal welfare” enforcement folks decided the animals were not properly licensed and allegedly were abused and used for dog fighting. She was charged with over a dozen felonies.

I investigated the case and consulted with Ms. Duttle, whose due process rights and Fourth Amendment rights were not foremost on the minds of the police when they raided her property and intimidated her into surrendering her animals.

Ms. Duttle, though had no luck with lawyers and her case has dragged through the court for years (it is still pending).

Ms. Duttle’s reputation was assailed in the

New Mexico media. Animal abuse is universally despised and to be falsely labeled with such a badge of infamy saddened her, as she strived to provide excellent care for her animals who were, for all purposes, robbed from her.

Ms. Duttle sued the police who are tormenting her and had to do so while her criminal case was pending so that time limits would not expire. That case is still pending, as is her criminal matter.

However, the system struck back at her with a vengeance.

Her lawyer abandoned her when funds ran dry.

During this time, Ms. Duttle has been released on recognizance. The court supposedly instructed her to get another lawyer.

When time passed, and she had no lawyer, they issued a warrant for her arrest. When she turned herself in, she was simply dumped in a cell and forgotten about, and not even brought before a judge.

She tried to represent herself but was told none of her pleadings would be accepted and that she needed a lawyer.

This is totally unconstitutional as people have the right to represent themselves.

Her son has repeatedly sought to get her a public defender, but to no avail, and no funds are available for a private lawyer.

Ms. Duttle states she never received notice of a hearing of revocation of her bonds but the prosecutors and a judge held one in her absence.

So Sharon Duttle rots in jail.

The writer called the governor’s office. Nobody called back. The writer contacted the New Mexico ACLU. No response.

The writer contacted several newspapers and TV stations in

New Mexico. No response.

The writer contacted the House Judiciary Committee in

Santa Fe, no response.

The writer called the court and the jail. No response.

All that takes for evil to succeed is for good men, and women, to do nothing.

Apparently, we activists have our work cut out for us.

David Grossack is founder of the Citizens Justice Association, a nonprofit charitable organization that challenges legal and government abuse and trains pro-se litigants.

Mr. Grossack also serves general counsel to National Writer’s Syndicate.

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