Sept. 7, 2008 Cops and Courts

Prosecutors have dismissed charges against a 56-year-old Clovis man who was arrested in June for attempted breaking and entering after he tried to retrieve his bank card from an ATM machine with a pocket knife.

“The whole situation? Oh man, how should I put this. I guess I would say that justice was served because I didn’t do anything to cause a problem for anybody but myself,” Manuel Beltran said Friday.

Clovis police arrested Beltran on June 18 after witnesses said he became belligerent, pulled out a knife and started sticking it in the opening of the machine located inside a store, according to police reports.

Public Defender Chandler Blair argued under state statute to be convicted of breaking and entering it must be proven a defendant entered a structure, according to court documents. Under state statute, neither ATM machines or vending machines are viewed as structures.

“I should have never been in this to begin with. I didn’t give anybody problems, I was never belligerent to anybody, I never raised my voice to anybody and I was very nice I thought, considering the problem that I had.”

The disabled man told the CNJ after his arrest he panicked and tried to use a knife to retrieve his bank card from an ATM .

The district attorney’s office filed a notice of dismissal without prejudice five days after Blair’s argument was filed.

Beltran said even in light of the court victory, he believes he still lost. He said he had to borrow money to pay his bills while he waited for a replacement card and had to borrow money from family to pay his bond after the arrest.

“In the long run, I still lost. Either way, I lost. The only thing is that I didn’t have to go through the court system and all that (but) I had to pay 500 dollars needlessly,” he said.

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State police are taking applications for the next general recruit class, a 20-week training program which will begin Feb. 8.

Potential candidates must submit a completed application and pass the physical fitness and written test. Passing applications will be forwarded to the Recruiting Division of the New Mexico State Police in Santa Fe.

On the ’net: www.nmsp.com

Cops and Courts is compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. She can be contacted at 763-6991 or: sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com