Inmates awaiting trial petition for release over COVID-19 risk

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico inmates awaiting trial in jail are petitioning the courts to be let out, arguing jail is a dangerous place during a pandemic.

One of them is Leland Hust, who is charged with the murder of six-year-old Ariana Romero. His trial was scheduled for next week but was postponed because of the health crisis which his attorneys say is one reason he should be let out.

They also argue jail conditions put Hust at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Defense attorneys are making a similar case for Donald Duquette, accused of shooting and killing a driver on I-40.

His attorneys also argue releasing more inmates will alleviate crowding and improve safety for those still inside. A judge has yet to rule on those motions.

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