Today the INSIDER EXCLUSIVE Investigative News team “Goes Behind The Headlines” in “TRUTH & JUSTICE for JOE MAX GUTIERREZ” ….. to examine how Derek Garcia of the Law Firm of Derek Garcia is seeking justice and the truth for the Gutierrez family regarding the death of Joe Max Gutierrez.
230 miles south of Albuquerque New Mexico is the small town of Bayard, New Mexico, located in the foothills of the Mountains in the southwestern portion of the State of New Mexico. It’s situated east of the Continental Divide at an elevation of approximately 5,800 feet.
Approximately 2500 people reside here today, but historically, Bayard was known as Fort Bayard and was the site of an 1866 post of the US Army “Buffalo Soldiers”. Fort Bayard was established to protect miners and other settlers in the area along the Apache Trail. Later Fort Bayard became an Army tuberculosis hospital and research center, and it’s now administered as the New Mexico Department of Health. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2004.
On June 19, 2010, around 9:00 pm, Joe Max Gutierrez was found dead in his own home at 704 Lusk Ave., Bayard, NM from a single shotgun blast to the head. The shotgun discharged after an alleged domestic dispute with his wife, Jamie Gutierrez Fetty.
Chief Medical Investigator, Dr. Ross E. Zumwalt, of The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator ruled the manner of death to be a suicide… But Derek Garcia and his investigators have turned up numerous problems with Dr Zumwalt’s ruling, indicating an undetermined or homicide theory as the more compelling explanation.
Derek Garcia’s several requests to the local District Attorney and the Office of Medical Investigators to revise the suicide ruling to “undetermined” have not been successful.
Nearly four years after the death of Joe Max Gutierrez, the family still searches for answers to the following questions:
Why did Jamie Fetty, Joe’s widow, describe “Multiple Versions” of the Death, including the Gun Going off during a Struggle?
Why was there apparent physical tampering of the body by police officers?
Why weren’t indications of “Evidence Tampering” investigated at the Scene?
Why did the police officers at the scene clean up after their investigation…. rather than someone outside the control and influence of the investigating officer, LT Sam Rodriguez?
Why weren’t all the critical witness interviewed?
Why wasn’t the Office of Medical Investigator informed that the Lead Investigator in the case, LT Sam Rodriguez, was engaged in a love affair with Jamie Fetty?
In 2011 and 2012 Derek Garcia spent countless hours meeting with OMI and petitioning the local District Attorney and AG’s office to reopen an investigation, all without success.
Derek and his clients are potentially going to pursue an “access to courts” theory. This right is based on the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Because of the botched and tainted investigation surrounding this incident, the family has been denied justice and access to the courts in ever receiving hard, concrete answers to their questions and concerns about the integrity of the investigation.
To succeed in getting justice and the truth for the Gutierrez family, Derek Garcia needs to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that their allegations are true.
This would be easier to do in a “right of access” to the courts lawsuit, as opposed to claiming additional allegation concerning wrongful death, conspiracy to deny civil rights or intentional homicide.
Without additional investigation and documentary investigation, the light of day might never be achieved in this case.
Other jurisdictions outside New Mexico have adopted strict procedures for domestic violence investigations involving police officers, and their resulting control of the investigations.
The Gutierrez family wants similar reforms adopted here, although nothing has been achieved yet, because no case has been filed.
In this special Insider Exclusive Investigative Network TV Show, we meet with Michael Gutierrez, Joe’s brother, and Michael Corwin, the local New Mexico Field Investigator with Corwin Research and Investigations, LLC, who will comment extensively on the field research done on this case, including interviews of witnesses and an analysis of evidence thus far conducted.
Derek has earned the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike…. as one of the best Trial lawyers in Albuquerque…. In New Mexico….. and across the nation. Derek has built a substantial reputation nationwide by consistently winning cases other law firms have turned down. And his amazing courtroom skills and headline grabbing success rate continue to provide his clients with the results they need……And the results they deserve.