Monday, January 05, 2009

Judge Joe Enos Stopped for Speeding, but Didn't Recieve Ticket

Duncan, Oklahoma

A Stephens County District Judge is in hot water following a traffic stop in Duncan. An officer who pulled Judge Joe Enos over for speeding Thursday morning says the judge called him a derogatory name after getting out of his car and arguing with the officer about whether he was speeding. Enos is responding to the allegations, but the Duncan City Attorney is telling the police department not to discuss the incident or release any information about the stop - including dash-cam video recording the encounter. However, late on Friday afternoon, an open records request was approved.

Judge Enos was on his way to the Duncan Simmons Center at about 5 a.m., when an officer says he witnessed the judge driving a little too fast. He followed him into the parking lot until the judge stopped. "It appears that the intent of the stop was to advise the judge that he was exceeding the speed limit," said Duncan City Attorney James Frieda.

After he stopped, the judge did something that police are constantly warning people not to do - he exited his vehicle and began walking toward the officer. The audio on the dash-cam recording reveals that the officer tried to stop him. The officer was unaware who the driver was, and tells the judge he should have stayed in his car. The officer asks for the man's license and insurance - that's when he realizes who the driver is. "Judge Enos," said the officer.

Enos tells the officer that he was driving 35 miles per hour, but the officer says he clocked him at 37 miles per hour, in a 30. "Are going to write me a ticket?" asked Enos. "No, I'm not going to write you a ticket," said Officer Alvarez. At that point, the judge walks away. However, according to the officer, Enos turned and called the officer a derogatory name. "The police officer there, I would assume, has full control of the situation, has the authority to make the stop, has the authority to detain the individual, the authority to issue a citation, and chose not to do that," said Frieda.

The judge did not wish to talk in person, instead he released the following statement:

"When Officer Alvarez stopped me early Thursday morning, while I thought I was travelling 35 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone, Officer Alvarez was apparently correct that I had travelled out of the 35-mile-per-hour zone into a 30-mile-per-hour zone. Officer Alvarez was very professional at all times. I regret that the officer took offense to what he thought he might have heard. I said nothing derogatory, offensive or confrontational to Officer Alvarez. I will have no other comment on this matter."

The city attorney says he doesn't know whether Enos' statement is true or not. "The officer who gave the interview indicated there was a derogatory statement made," said Frieda. "Whether, in fact, that occurred, I can't tell you that, because I don't know."

Frieda says that since there was no citation issued, there will be no official action taken by the City of Duncan. We asked the city attorney for a copy of the officer's incident report on the traffic stop, but we were told there isn't one - only a confidential report that will not be released to the public.

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