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New Mexico Supreme Court won’t rule in Bobby Unser appeal

November 18, 1997

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ The state Supreme Court has decided not to consider an appeal involving three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser, allowing to stand a ruling against Unser by the state Court of Appeals.

At issue is whether Unser will face prosecution on three misdemeanor charges stemming from a 1994 incident with a police officer at Albuquerque’s airport.

The high court heard arguments from lawyers in the case last week, but chief clerk Kathleen Jo Gibson said Monday the case was returned to the Court of Appeals without comment.

That means the earlier 1997 ruling by the appellate court stands, and the case goes back to a district judge in Albuquerque for more proceedings.

A district judge dismissed the charges, but that was overturned by the Court of Appeals. Unser challenged the ruling to the Supreme Court and his lawyer had asked the justices to dismiss the case and stop further prosecution of the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner.

Unser was charged with resisting arrest and careless driving, which are misdemeanors, and with battery, a petty misdemeanor,

A misdemeanor is punishable by less than a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A petty misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Unser was stopped by a police officer in May 1994 for allegedly speeding in the departure area outside the airport. He said the officer dented his truck with a nightstick and cursed him when he moved the vehicle to curbside. Unser also said the officer shoved him, and then he shoved her back.

Unser’s lawyer, Armand T. Carian, and Assistant Attorney General Joel Jacobsen, who handled the appeal for state prosecutors, did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

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