By Rick Durham
As most everyone in Clovis knows, John Jacobs went to trial for attempted criminal sexual penetration.
Before the trial could go to jury, Jacobs and his attorney decided they would use a dime-store legal ploy known as an Alford plea (maintaining his innocence while admitting sufficient evidence exists to convict) to avoid a guilty verdict and a lengthy prison sentence.
As a result of the plea, he was sent to the New Mexico Department of Corrections for evaluation. That evaluation resulted in an opinion that Jacobs would re-offend and that in his mind, he had never committed a crime.
Jacobs was subsequently sent back into the community to roam free.
At Jacobs’ sentencing hearing, Judge Teddy Hartley refused to hear statements from an alleged victim in a previous case and had the unmitigated gall to claim that this sexual assault was not a crime of violence.
The judge’s statements were antiquated, insensitive and a slap in the face to every woman who has ever suffered at the hands of a rapist.
Judge Hartley also refused to listen to the recommendations from the New Mexico Department of Corrections. Remember that these people deal with the criminal element every single day. And then, Jacobs’ attorney said that because Jacobs was an athlete, it’s OK to be arrogant and cocky to get ahead in life.
I guess that defense will work for any former athlete who wants to commit a crime. Every criminal has an excuse of some kind.
I am not sure why there was a sentencing hearing, because the evidence would hold that Judge Hartley already had his mind made up.
John Jacobs will not spend any jail time. He will continue to run free with your daughters and he will probably make it through his 18 months of probation because he is smart enough to know what will happen if he re-offends during that 18 months.
Will he strike again? I certainly hope not. Case histories of similar offenders say he probably will.
I dedicated 24 years of my life to enforcing the laws of the state of New Mexico. It is a shame our judicial system, specifically the Honorable Judge Hartley, has failed to uphold his responsibility to Clovis, the state of New Mexico and its citizens.
With Judge Hartley’s background, I certainly expected more from him. Justice would be partially served if every sexual assault advocacy group in the nation hears about his statements.
Thank you, District Attorney Brett Carter, former prosecutor Matt Chandler, prosecutor Andrea Reeb and police officer Dan Aguilar for your dedication to justice and keep the faith. Your tireless work is appreciated.
Rick Durham is a retired New Mexico State Police officer from Clovis who now lives in Killeen, Texas. He can be contacted at: