It looks like our Attorney General’s office has made contact with another online child predator. The good news for New Mexicans is that since the predator was unwilling to travel to New Mexico there is a good chance he’ll actually land behind bars.
Had this sleazeball come here, chances are that Patricia Madrid’s office would have had him back on the street as soon as legally possible. Just look at what Madrid did three weeks ago:
The evidence in the case was pretty clear. Police say Matthew Ward, 41, arranged over the internet to meet 14-year old girl for sex. Ward not only left an electronic trail, he emailed the girl a graphic photo of himself. Police arrested Ward when he showed up in a public park believing the girl would be there. He had been communicating with an undercover officer posing as a child. According to KRQE-TV News, Ward faced three years in prison.
So why did Ward walk out of court with a sentence of probation and therapy? State District Judge Pat Murdoch, who administered the slap on the wrist, says it’s because prosecutors did not ask for prison time when they came into his court. “I was under the impression that everyone wanted counseling,” said the judge. Prosecutors say they did ask for prison time, sort of. Though they reportedly had a solid case for three years, they offered Ward an expedient plea bargain of 18 months in jail, according to KRQE. Apparently, confusion revolved around just how clear prosecutors were. They asked for incarceration in a written presentence report, but Judge Murdoch says no mention was made of it in his court. So much for judicial power.
Meanwhile, the state Attorney General says the problem is really New Mexico’s weak laws. “My office has always felt that it should be a second-degree felony, which of course would be a longer sentence and likely would have gotten him prison,” said Attorney General Patricia Madrid. KRQE reports State Senator Mary Jane Garcia says she “tried to make child solicitation by computer a second-degree felony, but the legislation failed to pass.” But in at least one New Mexico case, it didn’t take a new law to deliver justice.
Once again, Patricia Madrid is on the record blaming everyone but herself for the screw up. She even goes so far as to blame the laws despite the fact the current law suffice to put the child predator away for three years – if only the Attorney General’s office would ask. Madrid has no problem spending taxpayer dollars to send out campaign mailers, even ones that say she is tough on sexual predators, But when it really counts, she lets the predators back on the street without a second thought.
We can all sleep a little sounder tonight knowing that Attorney General Patricia Madrid, no matter how hard she might try, will not be able to bungle a case in Delaware.