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OWENS PLEADS NOT GUILTY, SEEKS WAIVER OF FIRST DWI; ATTORNEY SAYS QUESTIONS SURROUND 2001 CASE IN FRAN GALLEGOS' COURT.

Byline: Nico Roesler

Scott Owens pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated driving while intoxicated n. see driving under the influence.  at an arraignment A criminal proceeding at which the defendant is officially called before a court of competent jurisdiction, informed of the offense charged in the complaint, information, indictment, or other charging document, and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or as otherwise permitted  in Municipal Court.

Owens, 30, was acquitted in April 2011 of four counts of vehicular homicide In most states in the United States, vehicular homicide is a crime. In general, it involves death that results from the negligent operation of a vehicle, or that results from driving whilst committing an unlawful act that does not amount to a felony.  in the June 2009 crash that killed four Santa Fe teens and severely injured a fifth.

He was arrested again March 17 by Santa Fe police when he refused to take a breath test, leading to an aggravated DWI An abbreviation for driving while intoxicated, which is an offense committed by an individual who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or Drugs and Narcotics.  charge.

The charge followed a traffic stop after Owens was allegedly driving 11 mph over the speed limit southbound on Siler Road in a 1962 Willys Jeep truck The Willys Jeep Pickup was similar to the Willys Jeep Wagon and the VJ-2 and VJ-3 Willys Jeepster. It was introduced in 1947, with model designations of 2T and 4T. These trucks were equipped with the 134 cubic inch "Go-Devil" engine and the three-speed Borg-Warner T-90 .

In 2001, Owens pleaded guilty to a DWI in Municipal Court when Fran Gallegos was the judge. In the past several years, however, many of the DWI convictions from Gallegos' term have been tossed from defendants' records for various reasons pertaining to her handling of those cases.

"There is a question if he was correctly advised of his rights," Owens' defense attorney, Dan Marlowe, said after Wednesday's arraignment. "Also, there is no court record."

Before Municipal Court Judge Ann Yalman on Wednesday, Marlowe said he will file a motion to have the 2001 DWI conviction waived before a scheduled pre-trial conference in mid-May. If the motion is upheld, the pending DWI case stemming from Owens' March 17 arrest would be considered a first offense.

Judge Yalman ordered a typical second-offense requirement, despite a request from Santa Fe Assistant City Attorney Krishna Picard for a $25,000 bond and jail time until the case is resolved. Yalman also ordered that Owens be put on a transdermal alcohol detector -- or TAD -- electronic monitoring system that detects traces of alcohol excreted through the skin.

Assistant City Attorney Alfred Walker Alfred Walker (8 September 1827 - 4 September 1870) was an English cricketer.

Walker was born in Southgate, London and was the second of seven cricket playing brothers - the Walkers of Southgate.
 is prosecuting the case with Picard and said his office will pursue Owens' DWI charge as his second offense.

"We typically ask for a high bond if we're particularly concerned about the history the person has had," Walker said after the arraignment.

Marlowe said in court that the requested penalties were too harsh and were founded on the high-profile nature of the 2011 trial.

"This is a second DWI," Marlowe told the judge. "He should not be treated any differently than anyone else."

Yalman agreed.

"An acquittal is an acquittal," Yalman said. "I can't count it as a DWI."

State prosecutors did not pursue a DWI charge in the 2011 case despite Owens' admission he was drunk the night of the 2009 crash. DWI was an element needed to prove vehicular homicide, but so was causation of the crash -- the factor 12 jurors determined was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Owens spent almost two years in jail awaiting trial in that case.

Owens' driver's license is now suspended, and he will be on a curfew that allows him to leave home only to go to work. However, Yalman allowed him to install an ignition interlock Noun 1. ignition interlock - a device that prevents an automotive engine from starting; "car theives know how to bypass the ignition interlock"
interlock
 system on his car and obtain an interlock system driver's license that allows him to drive to and from work. The system costs $150 a month.

Marlowe also told the judge that Owens "understands that it's a hard lesson that he's learning" and that he has voluntarily applied for an alcohol treatment program in

Colorado -- a program the attorney said could accept him as early as next week.

A friend, who did not disclose his name, drove Owens to court Wednesday and told the judge that he would volunteer to drive Owens to the treatment center.

"He's just trying to get his life back together," the friend said before he and Owens entered the courtroom.

Marlowe said that once this trial is completed, "It is [Owens'] desire to leave this community."

Contact Nico Roesler at 986-3089 or nroesler@sfnewmexican.com.
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Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Date:Mar 29, 2012
Words:625
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