The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

DWI suspect acquitted by jury

Randall Pruitt still faces charges for 10th DWI charge


May 10, 2018

CLOVIS — Randall Pruit hugged his defense attorney Wednesday in court after a jury acquitted him on his ninth DWI charge.

Pruit, 54, was found not guilty of aggravated DWI, failure to maintain traffic lane and speeding in connection with his Oct. 21 arrest in Clovis.

It was the first of two DWI charges for Pruit since 2009, according to court records.

His attorney Dan Lindsey said the case “was all based on exaggerated, faulty premises and a very limited investigation,” and that they were grateful to the jury, which delivered its verdict after more than an hour of deliberation following a daylong trial.

“Well, Randy was presumed guilty,” Lindsey told The News. “An innocent man has been in jail now for months, and now he is free.”

In fact, Pruit remains in custody for the time being while awaiting trial on more recent DWI charges, incurred Dec. 31 while out on bond for the October case.

“He’ll remain in custody for right now,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Stover. “I’m sure that they will file a motion to reconsider his detention based upon his acquittal, and we’ll fight that.”

Stover, who represented the state in Wednesday’s trial and will do so in the next trial expected in June, said he respected the jury’s verdict but was “highly disappointed.”

“These individuals know how to play the system. They know how to refuse the test, and we’re not allowed to tell the jury that this is his ninth offense and so he knows to refuse,” he said. “And that’s disappointing, but I think what the jury was really telling us was that in law enforcement we have to do a better job. There should have been a search warrant for this man’s blood, and that wasn’t done.”

Stover cited other evidentiary issues influencing the jury’s verdict, including the lack of radar on the police vehicle that pulled him over in October. Officials did secure a search warrant to test his blood from the New Year’s Eve case, and that trial was continued from next week while investigators await its results.

“I am really hoping that it is not an issue where they are believing that law enforcement is out to get people, because they’re certainly not out to get people,” he said. “Only that the state is going to continue to do everything that we can to see to it that drunk drivers are removed from the streets.”


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2020