Pre-trial detention denied for suspect in fatal DWI crash | KOB 4

Pre-trial detention denied for suspect in fatal DWI crash

Brittany Costello
January 09, 2018 06:40 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A man accused of driving drunk with two young children in the backseat and causing a fatal crash has been released from jail.


More than a week ago, police say Steven Deskin crashed at the intersection of Montgomery and Wyoming, killing the person in the other vehicle. The state tried to hold Deskin without bond, but a judge said there wasn't enough evidence.

It's been a battle at times to keep criminal suspects behind bars, even repeat offenders. Sometimes only the most dangerous are slapped with pre-trial detention. Prosecutors thought the 30-year-old Deskin might fall into that category.

"This is a dangerous matter, your honor, and we believe the defendant should be detained," the prosecutor told the court.

According to court documents, Deskin admitted to drinking three beers in the morning, hours before picking up his two small children. Witnesses say he drove up to 100 miles per hour before slamming into the other vehicle.

"We have a horrible case. Somebody died. That's bad," Judge Charles Brown said. "That's not, though, the reason you can hold somebody, just because something bad happened to somebody."

The pre-trial detention hearing took place just 48-hours after the deadly crash, but Brown noted the state didn't have anyone in court who saw what happened.

"You've not presented me any witnesses so the claim that he was driving up to 100 miles an hour," Brown told prosecutors. "I have no way judge how valid that may be."

The district attorney's office said hearings for these types of cases often come quickly, making it difficult to get witnesses to commit to testifying. Deskin's blood alcohol test results weren't in either. After the hearing, that blood work was finalized and handed over to the prosecutor's office.

Deskin also has no criminal history, one of the biggest factors why the judge released him.

The district attorney's office provided KOB with a statement, explaining the process under Supreme Court decision Torrez v Whitaker saying, "The Supreme Court has held that the state can meet its burden through proffer, or offer of proof by a prosecutor, or through live witnesses or both. Because of the expedited nature of these hearings the state usually proceeds by proffer."


Brittany Costello

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