Former Valencia deputy trial in July
The former Valencia County Sheriff’s deputy accused of trying to coerce a woman into a sexual favor to get out of a ticket near Veguita in September 2010 will stand trial at the Socorro District Courthouse on July 23.
Former Deputy Patrick Duran will face one charge of extortion, a third-degree felony that carries a three-year prison term; and one charge of false imprisonment, a fourth-degree felony that carries a prison term of 1 1/2 years.
The charge of extortion stems from and incident in which Duran allegedly forced the victim, Samantha Patterson, to drop her pants to get out of DWI ticket. The false imprisonment charge comes from the suspect holding the victim against her will.
Duran is looking at a maximum of 4 1/2 years in prison if he is convicted on all counts, said District Attorney Robert Gary Cates.
However, confusion arose over a similar case involving a former Socorro County Sheriff’s Department deputy who was found guilty of coercing female motorists into sexual favors and is now serving six years in prison for his crime.
Patterson’s description of the suspect is consistent with that of Duran. However, that description is also similar to that of Shawn Baca, a former Socorro County deputy. Baca is a little taller though, said Cates.
Duran’s lawyer called into question the process used by the New Mexico State Police to identify Duran as the suspect in the incident.
In trying to get a positive identification of Duran, police brought the victim to a show-up at Duran’s house. “Show-ups” are when victims, accompanied by police, go to a suspect’s house, unannounced, to try to make a positive ID of that suspect.
In this case, police brought Patterson to another deputy’s house, where she said that deputy didn’t match the description of the man who had forced her to drop her pants. They then went to Duran’s house, where she identified him as the suspect.
Patterson also picked Duran out of a group of pictures consisting of six officers, according to court documents.
Patterson also identified the car used by the suspect during the incident. Her description of the police car, painted all black with a gold star on the door, is consistent with three vehicles used by the Valencia County Sheriff’s Department.
Two of the all-black police cars were in use on the night of the incident. A tall, white officer was using one that night and the other was being used by the suspect.
Confusion also arose from the area in which the incident took place. Officers are unclear if the stretch of road, N.M. 304, which runs north-south from Belen to La Joya, is the jurisdiction of the Valencia County or the Socorro County Sheriff’s Department.
The main sticking point in the case, however, is the similarity between the Baca case and Duran case. Baca was arrested six months after Duran and displayed behavior, in multiple incidents, similar to the suspect in the Patterson case.
Baca pulled one victim over for speeding and told her he could “work something out” if she would “pull down her pants and show him her buttock,” according to court documents. Baca made another victim pull up her shirt and bra so he could take a picture with his cellphone.
In another incident, Baca pulled over a minor and told her she was stopped for speeding. He then made her get out of her car, bend over and pull her pants down.
Baca then touched her underwear. The victims in these cases all reported that they did as they were told because they were scared what might happen to them if they didn’t.
In the Patterson case, the suspect also made his victim get out her car, bend over with her hands on the trunk of his police car and drop her pants and underwear. Patterson testified in court that she followed his demands because she was afraid what might happen to her if she didn’t.
Patterson’s boyfriend, who was in the passenger seat of her car at the time of the incident, jumped out when he saw the victim drop her pants. He told the suspect that he had a relative in the state police.
The suspect stopped, escorted her back to her car and hugged her. The couple called 911 after the suspect drove away, heading south.