Judge pulls over to aid crash victim, a defendant on the way to her court

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A judge driving to criminal court last week pulled over to aid a crash victim, a burglary defendant scheduled to appear before her that day.

At least three other defendants on the way to court also pulled over to help the victim, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Judge Sheri Raphaelson has training as an emergency medical technician and is a midwife, the story says. She holds criminal court every Tuesday in Tierra Amarilla and was traveling to court with her bailiff on Feb. 4 when she noticed the accident.

The defendant, Isaac Martinez, was injured when the truck driven by his mother skidded off the road on a snowy day. Raphaelson had her stethoscope, but not her medical bag, so she listened to Martinez’s lungs and checked his pulse. She covered Martinez with her jacket and held his hand until an ambulance arrived about an hour later. Help was slow in coming because a passerby had to drive south to get cellphone coverage.

Raphaelson drove to the hospital that evening to visit Martinez, but he had already been released.

Raphaelson told the Albuquerque Journal she will have to consider recusing herself in the cases of the defendants who aided Martinez. “If I could make all of their charges go away, I would,” she said. “What I saw of their character in that incident tells me so much more about their characters than I could learn from their police files.”

Hat tip to Above the Law.

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