JIMENEZ TO PLEAD GUILTY TO DWI CHARGE, ISSUES APOLOGIES

JIMENEZ TO PLEAD GUILTY TO DWI CHARGE, ISSUES APOLOGIES

Below is the statement read by Doña Ana County Chief Deputy Clerk Mario Jimenez to reporters at a press conference today.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Good Afternoon –

My name is Mario Jimenez, and I am the chief deputy county clerk for Doña Ana County. As most of you know, I was pulled over last Thursday by a New Mexico State Police officer, who saw me driving without my headlights on. The officer asked whether I had been drinking that night, and I admitted that I had consumed a few drinks over the course of several hours. The officer conducted field-sobriety tests on me, and although he informed me that I did very well, he called for a backup unit to bring a field breathalyzer for me to take a breath test. I failed the breath test, and was arrested and booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center on charges of driving while intoxicated.

In the days since my arrest, I have spent a great deal of time considering the choices I made that night. I also have spoken to legal experts and have been assured that I could mount an aggressive defense against these charges, if I choose to do so. The decision, of course, is mine to make, and I have made the decision not to fight the charges but to plead guilty. Although I did not feel at the time that I was impaired or represented a danger to other motorists, the breathalyzer results indicate strongly that I was wrong, and I feel that it would be morally wrong to attempt to evade the consequences of my behavior.

Tomorrow morning, I will appear before Judge Oscar Frietze. I will apologize to him, I will plead guilty, and I will ask him to impose the full punishment normally accorded to first-time DWI offenders. Apologizing to him is just one step. I’d like to take this opportunity to also apologize most sincerely to the voters, residents and motorists of Doña Ana County. I also apologize to the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners, to my boss, County Clerk Lynn Ellins, to the other elected officials of Doña Ana County, to my colleagues in the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office and to my coworkers throughout this organization. My choices last Thursday have tarnished an organization that I care deeply about, and I have let down people whom I respect greatly. And, of course, I apologize to my family and to my church.

In the immediate aftermath of my arrest, I notified Mr. Ellins and offered my resignation. A kind and caring man, Mr. Ellins told me he would rather that I stay on the job, but he also assured me that any further behavior of this severity would not be ignored or looked upon kindly. I fully understand his position, and I accept the challenge. I promise to redouble my efforts to show the people of Doña Ana County that I am a public servant who puts their interests first. I promise my colleagues that I will not lose focus on my duties, and I will use the terms of my punishment to motivate me to become a better person, worthy of the second chance I’m being afforded.

DWI is a serious problem in Doña Ana County, and I offer no excuse for my behavior. I only ask for the opportunity to learn from this experience and to carry from here on out a hard message borne of experience and tempered by humility.

In closing, I would like to thank the New Mexico State Police and the staff of the Doña Ana County Detention Center for their professionalism. I appreciate all the legal advice that I’ve been given, and I thank those who sought to help me to get out of this horrible mess that I’ve created. But in the final analysis, it is my mess, and I need to clean it up myself. I feel that admitting my guilt and accepting my punishment is the first step toward a larger goal of living up to the high expectations of the residents of Doña Ana County.

Thank you all for coming. I hope you’ll understand that this has been an emotional week, and I would prefer not to take questions, but I have copies of my statement available for anyone who wishes to take one. Thank you once again.