Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Ex-Magistrate To Take Espanola DWI Case.

Byline: Brendan Smith Journal Staff Writer

School Board Member Accused

Former Rio Arriba County Magistrate Ernie Velarde will preside over a drunken-driving case filed against Espanola school board member Elias Coriz from a Nov. 23 traffic stop outside Espanola City Hall.

"I have never backed down from making the hard decisions," Velarde said Tuesday. "We're dealing with an elected official. Nonetheless, he'll be treated fairly and given the benefit of the doubt."

Chief District Judge Michael Vigil said Tuesday he appointed Velarde to hear the case after Espanola Municipal Judge Charles Maestas recused himself. Maestas was a passenger in Coriz's truck during the traffic stop. …

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