Prosecutorial Review of the Shooting of Earl Roybal by James Morales
APD case # 17-0085088. DA Case: 2017-02859-1.
Date of Incident: March 26, 2017
The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office has reviewed the evidence in the March 26, 2017 shooting at the Hose It Car Wash on Coors near Sequoia NW and determined that no charges will be filed against James Morales for the death of Earl Roybal.
“The charging standard in the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office is whether or not there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial,” District Attorney Raúl Torrez said. “Based upon the available evidence and testimony submitted by the Albuquerque Police Department, we do not believe that this case meets that standard.”
“This decision in no way condones the shooting that occurred,” Torrez said. “This is a tragic death that should never have happened, but the State does not have a good faith belief that it could convict Mr. Morales given the available evidence,” Torrez said.
Under existing law, the State would have the burden of disproving Mr. Morales’ self-defense claim and the jury would be instructed to acquit Mr. Morales if (1) there was an appearance of immediate danger of death or great bodily harm to Mr. Morales as a result of Mr. Roybal’s actions, (2) Mr. Morales was in fact put in fear of immediate death or great bodily harm and shot Mr. Roybal because of that fear, and (3) this apparent danger would have caused a reasonable person in the same circumstances to act as Mr. Morales did.
“The totality of the evidence presented by APD – including available video, police reports, photographs, statements from witnesses, and audio recordings from 911 calls – does not lead us to the conclusion that we can carry our burden beyond a reasonable doubt,” Torrez said.
The Prosecutorial Review Report, with APD evidence photos, is available here and video footage is available below.