COMMENTARY: Dianna Duran is a woman almost 60 years of age who has basically been a law-abiding citizen almost her entire life. It appears as if her criminal behavior had something to do with a gambling problem. I would not be surprised if there are drug or alcohol issues as well.
I do not know much about Ms. Duran, but I seem to recall that she has been a public servant nearly her entire life. I think that should count for something.
Yes, she betrayed the trust of the people. But she has now been removed from office and is barred from ever holding office again. Duran has suffered some pretty severe public criticism and embarrassment. Her life is ruined.
A trial would be long and costly. I think she should be given some credit for saving judicial and prosecutorial resources by pleading early in the case.
There is almost always an outcry for maximum punishment in a case like this, but that’s also why the judicial branch of government is the least democratic of the three: It has to temper fairness with compassion for the accused. Let’s try to learn from her mistakes and allow her to pay her debt to society, but long term incarceration? Seriously?
All in all, it seems like a pretty fair deal to me.
McElhinney is an attorney at Johnson & McElhinney P.C. in Las Cruces.