District Attorney’s Office Asks Judge To Reconsider Dismissal Of Charges Against Gabriel Wadt

BY MAIRE O’NEILL
maire@losalamosreporter.com

Assistant First Judicial District Attorney Heather Smallwood and Jerry Archuleta, the attorney for Gabriel Wadt are back in court on the dismissal of charges against Wadt last week by Los Alamos Magistrate Judge Pat Casados. See https://losalamosreporter.com/2021/02/12/charges-against-gabriel-wadt-dismissed-friday-in-magistrate-court/

Smallwood filed a motion Feb. 18 asking Judge Casados to reconsider the dismissal order and extend the time by 30 days for commencement of Wadt’s trial on charges of driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. Archuleta filed his response Feb. 19. Judge Casados has set a March 12 hearing for the motion.

At a telephonic status hearing Feb. 12 on Wadt’s case, Archuleta told Judge Casados that he had made several attempts to obtain cell phone numbers for Los Alamos Police Department officers. Archuleta obtained hundreds of pages of cell phone records for LAPD through an Inspection of Public Records request. He is seeking to determine who officers called during the traffic stop when the audio function of LAPD videos of the incident was turned off. In his response to Smallwood’s motion, Archuleta says that in the video, officers kept stating they were unsure whether or not they could charge Wadt with driving while intoxicated.

Smallwood’s motion lists evidence submitted as “pictures of the car and scene, statement by the witness Gary Krugger, the police report regarding the incident, and five digital video disks”. She maintains there is adequate evidence to convict Wadt of the DWI and that Judge Casados “exercised an abuse of discretion upon granting the order of dismissal”.

During the traffic stop, Archuleta claims LAPD officers called Espanola Police Chief Roger Montoya who was Wadt’s employer at the time as well as the State Police Officer Academy, which he said had no bearing on the incident at the time. Archuleta’s response states that he needed to phone numbers so that he could see who advised the LAPD officers they had enough probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant and could involve exculpatory evidence. Archuleta wanted to question the officers during pre-trial interviews which he says he initially in August and also discussed with Smallwood’s predecessor Larissa Breen who has since left the District Attorney’s Office. Archuleta claims Breen never set up the pre-trial interviews prior to an October status hearing for Wadt as she had indicated she would.

“At the December 4, 2020 status hearing ADA Smallwood advised that she would be substituting as counsel for the State and that the cases left behind from ADA Breen were a mess but that she would make sure that they, including Mr. Wadt’s case were promptly brought up to speed and that she would set the pre-trial interviews,” Archuleta’s response reads.

Despite communication both in and outside Court in December and January, Archuleta says he has still not been provided the information he requested from Smallwood and the pre-trial interviews have not been set up. On Feb. 11, a day before the latest Magistrate Court status hearing, Smallwood responded to another request from Archuleta for five phone numbers, providing just two and indicating that she did not have the other three. She did not indicate why those numbers could not be obtained from LAPD.

Smallwood’s motion says the dismissal of the charges is an “extreme remedy”. She claims Archuleta’s only argument is that without the officers’ phone numbers, pre-trial interviews of officers would be “cumbersome” which “is not actual prejudice”. Archuleta on the other accuses Smallwood of wanting him to prepare for a trial in less than a week when Smallwood had 182 days to prepare.

“In closing, ADA Smallwood is now attempting to deflect from the numerous mistakes made by the State in this case. Rather than acknowledge that mistakes were made, ADA Smallwood wishes to use more judicial time to ask forgiveness for not checking her email about the request for December pre-trial interviews, not checking her email about the phone numbers needed for the pre-trial interviews, forgetting to set up pre-trial interviews and not remembering to reschedule the January 27 pre-trial interviews,” Archuleta’s response concludes.

The Reporter’s original story of Wadt’s arrest from last August may be read at https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/08/21/espanola-police-officer-gabriel-wadt-arrested-in-los-alamos-charged-with-dui-and-evading-police-officer/