Martinez: Contributions didn’t influence DWI dismissals

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Eleven DWI arrests, one conviction.

It’s a record that raises an eyebrow or two.

William Marchiondo has been very fortunate when it comes to getting out of DWI charges.

Last week, KRQE News 13 raised questions about whether his father, politically connected attorney Bill Marchiondo had anything to do with the frequent dismissals.

After facing criticism about her connections to the Marchiondo family, Bernalillo County DA Kari Brandenburg opted to pass two DWI cases on to Sandoval and Valencia County DA Lemuel Martinez.

Both cases were dismissed yet again.

But News 13 has learned Martinez has some connections to Marchiondo’s father too.

In 2005, the Marchiondo Law Offices donated $1000 to Martinez’s 2006 bid to become New Mexico Attorney General. Six years later, campaign finance reports show Marchiondo himself donated another $500 to Martinez.

Although in a previous case Martinez determined his office had a conflict of interest in a DWI case involving attorney Cody Kelley because of Kelley’s campaign contributions, Martinez says the Marchiondo situation is different.

“I don’t know the son, I’ve never met the son, I’ve never had contact with him,” Martinez said. “There was no conflict [of interest] with this person.”

Martinez denies the campaign contributions had any influence on how his office handled the cases, saying the cases themselves were “fatally flawed.”

According to a criminal complaint, last January an APD officer pulled over Marchiondo after he observed him swerving all over the road. The officer “observed signs of intoxication” and Marchiondo apparently blew above the legal limit on a breath test.

But Martinez says his office received the case from Brandenburg’s office “very late” and faced some big hurdles. One was an expert witness for the defense prepared to testify that Marchiondo’s breath test could’ve been significantly affected by the medications he was on. The other was another defense witness prepared to testify that she had been with Marchiondo and that he hadn’t had a drink all day.

“We felt that there was more than enough doubt to be reasonable in that particular case,” Martinez said.

In the second case from October, APD was called after Marchiondo crashed his car on Comanche.

According to a criminal complaint, the officers noticed Marchiondo smelled and looked drunk and, once again, he blew over a .08 on a breath test.

The problem with this case? The certification on the machine used to test Marchiondo was three weeks out of date, meaning the breath test would not be admissible in court.

Martinez said his attorneys had no choice but to drop the DWI charge in that case too.

“We did the best we could with what we had which was not much,” Martinez said.

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