By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer
Felony charges pending against Curry County Commissioner Ed Perales will be reviewed by an independent prosecutor to avoid any potential conflict of interest, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the District Attorney’s office.
Perales was arrested Sunday and charged with false imprisonment for holding his wife and daughter in a room during a family dispute, according to a Clovis police report.
The case will be forwarded to an investigator in the 10th Judicial District in the next 10 days.
“This decision (to transfer the investigation) was made due to the relationship with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the defendant in his capacity as a Curry County Commissioner,” District Attorney Matt Chandler said in the release.
Perales directed requests for comment on the case to his attorney.
Perales’ counsel, Randall M. Harris, said he agreed with Chandler’s decision.
Harris said he would not comment on whether or not his client should have been charged by police.
Harris believes the independent prosecutor will drop the criminal case pending against Perales, he said.
“We’re looking forward to meeting with the prosecutor and hope for the appropriate outcome of a total acquittal of charges against Mr. Perales,” Harris said.
All criminal proceedings and hearings will be held in Curry County, the release said.
If convicted of false imprisonment, Perales faces 18 months in prison and or a $5,000 fine, according to Chandler’s release.