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Metro Court Holds DWI Hearing at CNM as Part of “Courts to Schools” Program

CNM students in the Criminal Justice and Paralegal programs got an up-close view of the justice system.
Metro Court Holds DWI Hearing at CNM as Part of “Courts to Schools” Program
Metro Court Judge Victor E. Valdez addresses Defendant Elizabeth Sharick, far right, who was arrested for a DWI in January. Sharick's sentencing hearing took place in the JS building before a packed room of CNM Criminal Justice and Paralegal students. Sharick's attorney Maria I. Padilla, center, stands next to her client.

Oct 25, 2018

A real courtroom came to the classroom at CNM on Tuesday, when Bernalillo County’s Metro Court conducted two DWI hearings with CNM students watching on with rapt attention inside the JS Building on Main Campus.

It was part of the “Courts to School” program run by Bernalillo County Metro Court to help expose students to the procedures and realities of the criminal justice system. Students in CNM’s Criminal Justice and Paralegal programs filled Room 301 in the JS Building, which is already outfitted as a mock courtroom for the programs.

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Defense attorney Maria I. Padilla, right, talks to CNM students following two DWI hearings in the JS building.

The DWI hearings were real Court proceedings, complete with the defendants, defense counsel, prosecutor, law enforcement, a probation officer and judge. The defendants are screened and selected to participate in the program.

“This program gives our students the opportunity to see the various functions of the Metro Court while a real case is being presented,” said Kevin Daugherty, chair of CNM’s Criminal Justice program. “They were able to see the subject matter from their courses put into practice.”

One of the defendants was Elizabeth Sharick, who was arrested on Jan. 26, 2018, after her blood-alcohol content was measured at .22, more than two times the legal limit. During the trial, she addressed the CNM students about what it was like to be arrested and jailed, and the impact her decision to drink and drive has had on her life. She agreed to give a statement to the students as part of her plea agreement.

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CNM criminal justice major Deisy Guzman, far right, and CNM paralegal major Audie Couch, second from right, listen as Metro Court Judge Victor E. Valdez talks to students about the judicial system and processes following two DUI hearings in the JS building,.

Metro Court Judge Victor E. Valdez sentenced Sharick to three days in the Metropolitan Detention Center.

“After the court was adjourned, the students got to ask the judge and the other professionals about what they just witnessed,” Daugherty said. “The students also asked questions about how to get started in their career field. It was a great experience for our students.”

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Defense attorney Maria I. Padilla, left, talks to her client and defendant Elizabeth Sharick after Metro Court Judge Victor E. Valdez, not pictured, sentenced Sharick to three days in the MDC (90 days in jail, 85 days suspended, 2 days pre-confinement). At right is APD Sergeant Marvin Barnes, who works in the Metro Court.