News Column

Carlos Fierro Released on Parole, Headed to Los Angeles

Aug. 23, 2012

Nico Roesler

Carlos Fierro, a former Santa Fe attorney who was sentenced to prison for vehicular homicide in the 2008 death of William Tenorio, was released from the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility on Wednesday afternoon.

Fierro, who has said he intended to leave the state after serving his sentence, was ordered by the New Mexico Adult Parole Board to report immediately to a designated probation and parole officer in Los Angeles.

His parole certificate says he will be on parole until his sentence expires. A judge sentenced Fierro to seven years in prison following an October 2009 plea agreement with the state in which Fierro pleaded no contest to being drunk while driving his car into Tenorio, 46, as the San Felipe Pueblo member walked across Guadalupe Street in November 2008. Police said Fierro fled the scene, and he was later stopped and arrested on a downtown street.

After less than three years in prison, Fierro, 39, applied for parole and was accepted in May after accumulating good-time credit as a prison inmate. Fierro also was given credit for 299 days of jail time prior to entering the plea agreement.

Special conditions of his parole, according to the certificate, include future alcohol-abuse treatment, participation in victim impact panels, participation in Alcoholics Anonymous, 110 hours of community service and a ban on driving or obtaining a driver's license while on parole.

Fierro also must refrain from contacting the Tenorio family and abide by a daily curfew of 8 p.m.

Fierro served less than half of his sentence because of good-time credits for taking courses in prison, such as a cable technician class, a culinary arts program and a moral recognition treatment course. During his time in prison, he received high-profile media attention, for disobeying certain rules as well as for an incident earlier this month in which he performed CPR on a driver who stopped breathing after a car accident in Las Cruces.

A van carrying a Southern New Mexico Corrections Facility inmate work crew was nearly hit by a truck that veered off a highway on Aug. 14, according to The Associated Press. The truck careened through barbed-wire fence and came to a stop about 100 feet away from the van. The driver appeared to be in cardiac distress, the AP reported, so a corrections officer and several inmates, including Fierro, helped remove him from his vehicle and rendered aid until an ambulance arrived.

In February, Fierro was under fire after he contacted news reporters with concerns about errors in the state Department of Corrections' calculation of his accrued good-time credits, saying he should have been released as early as April. Fierro, with the help of two unidentified employees of the Department of Corrections, who were later put on paid leave, used administrative office telephones and fax machines to contact media outlets and an attorney. As a result of the infractions, Fierro was transferred to a Level 2 security facility in Las Cruces.

Fierro was found guilty of three infractions by the Department of Corrections: attempt to engage or engaging in an unauthorized relationship (in this case with administrative staff); improper legal assistance; and unauthorized use of institutional equipment.

Dianna Tenorio, a daughter of William Tenorio, told reporters at a February news conference: "We ask only that he remember that he is not the victim. We are emotionally frustrated with Mr. Fierro reaching out to the media, but we are not surprised to hear he feels he is being treated unfairly. We have altered our lives around the absence of our father. We hope that Mr. Fierro appreciates and is grateful for the second chance of life he has been given."

Phone calls to Fierro's Albuquerque attorney, Ray Twohig, were not returned Wednesday.

A habeas corpus petition is still pending in which Fierro is asking the state District Court to allow him to vacate his no-contest plea to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident, vacate his convictions and set a new trial. Among the reasons Fierro wants a new trial, Twohig said in February, are claims of inadequate representation in his 2010 trial and unfair influence from media coverage.

Source: (c)2012 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.). Distributed by MCT Information Services

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