ALBUQUERQUE (KRE) - Richard Garcia took a bullet last month and another arrest, his 38th burglary bust after being released by judges who can't agree on whether he's mentally competent to stand trial.
Garcia, 44, is now in the Bernalillo County Detention Center on aggravated burglary charges, but on previous charges a judge ruled that Garcia mentally incompetent to stand trial and so he was free to break the law again.
A grand jury indicted him last week accusing him of breaking into a home in northwest Albuquerque last month. The homeowner caught Garcia in his home and shot him in the back.
The indictment came after Garcia was hospitalized for his injuries. But after 37 burglary arrests, why was he out on the street?
In December 2011, a judge agreed with a licensed expert from the state psychiatric hospital and deemed Garcia incompetent. They said he wouldn't understand court proceedings, consequences or the charges against him.
In addition, he doesn't have the ability to rationally assist his lawyers.
As a result, if the judge rules the defendant incompetent but not dangerous, that case is dismissed based on state statute, said Kayla Anderson, spokeswoman for the Bernalillo District Attorney's Office.
Anderson said state law doesn't provide any monitoring system confirm people released under that kind of ruling are receiving any necessary or recommended medical treatment.
Of the 17 criminal cases against Garcia since 1988, he has been found incompetent in four. He is being held on a $150,000 cash surety bond and will be arraigned on Monday.
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