SANTA FE, N.M. – A judge who wrecked a state-owned van last week pleaded guilty to drunken driving and said he would enter a treatment program. He is the second New Mexico judge to enter a DWI plea in less than a year.
State District Judge Thomas Fitch (search) admitted to aggravated DWI and other charges in court Tuesday. He was sentenced to the maximum 90 days, with 88 days suspended, and will serve the two days in jail after his treatment.
Fitch, 62, was driving to a legislative committee meeting Friday when the van overturned. Police said they found a nearly empty bottle of vodka, and Fitch's blood-alcohol content was tested at more than twice the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Fitch is chief judge in the sprawling 7th Judicial District based in Soccoro. His fellow judges have asked him to take a leave of absence, and a petition to temporarily suspend him was filed with the state Supreme Court.
John Brennan (search), chief judge in Bernalillo County, was arrested in May after trying to duck a DWI checkpoint. He later resigned and pleaded guilty to aggravated DWI and cocaine possession. He was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation.