Duran trial started Monday
The trial of Patrick Duran, the Valencia County sheriff’s deputy accused of coercing a woman into a sexual favor to get out of a traffic ticket, started on Monday with jury selection.
“This (trial) will be a major commitment of time,” presiding judge Ed Kase said in a recent pre-trial conference.
The trial stems from an incident in September 2010 in which a deputy allegedly used his position as a law enforcement agent to get the victim to do something she did not want to do.
The victim, Samantha Patterson, and her boyfriend drove from a party to the side of the highway, where they stopped to have a conversation. Patterson then got out of the car and urinated. A squad car, which was consistent with Patterson’s description of a Valencia County Sheriff’s Department vehicle, drove by her, then turned around and parked behind her car.
The deputy then allegedly made Patterson put her hands on his car’s trunk and instructed her to pull down her pants or he would give her a DWI ticket. She told him she wouldn’t, but then did so because, as she testified in court prior to this jury trial, she was scared what might happen to her if she didn’t.
Patterson’s boyfriend then got out of the car and stopped the incident. The deputy escorted Patterson to her car, hugged her, then drove north.
Patterson identified the suspect as Duran on two separate occasions when shown pictures of officers and during a show-up at his residence. He faces a third-degree felony charge of extortion and a fourth-degree felony charge of false imprisonment. He could potentially serve up to 4 1/2 years in prison if convicted.
However, a similar case involving a former Socorro County Sheriff’s Department deputy, Shawn Baca, who was found guilty of coercing female motorists — one who was a minor — into sexual favors and who resembles Duran has thrown the case into question. Baca is now serving six years in prison for his crime.
Jury selection finished Tuesday morning with the choice of 12 jurors and three alternates. According to the attorneys, the trial should wrap up Friday, but may extend through Monday.
Watch El Defensor Chieftain’s website at www.dchieftain.com for updates on the trial.