Frequency of no-bond hold requests concerns New Mexico defense attorneys

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque has seen it over and over again. The catch and quick release of a dangerous suspect.

“They brag about it,” Officer Fred Duran said in November. “They know they are going to be released. They are going to be out in the streets doing the same thing.”

A new amendment aimed to curb that allows courts to deny bond if prosecutors prove the defendant is a threat to the public.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez says his office will “aggressively” pursue that for dangerous defendants.

The District Attorney’s Office tells KRQE News 13 that since December, it has made 56 requests to keep suspects in jail with no bond and that 20 of those motions were approved by a judge.

However, defense attorneys find those numbers concerning.

“I’ve noticed a handful of cases where it’s appropriate and there are a whole lot more cases where it’s not,” said attorney Jonathan Ibarra. “I believe that they are, that they’re abusing that power.”

Ibarra also says he has concerns over a Supreme Court order Friday to close a loophole in the no-bond measure, making it so that if prosecutors file a motion for pretrial detention in a District Court, then suspects who have access to bond earlier in the process, say in Metro Court, are automatically held as they await a District Court detention hearing.

That’s what happened to Wesley Dawes at Metro Court last week.

“So, basically what that means, Mr. Dawes, is you will be held in custody until you have a hearing with a District Court judge,” Dawes was told in court.

Dawes is charged with raping his unconscious wife in a church parking lot, next to a school with children outside at recess.

“We don’t think that there are any conditions that would ensure the safety of the victim and the community at large,” said a prosecutor on behalf of the state.

Dawes will have to wait until Thursday for his scheduled hearing at District Court where a judge will decide whether he’s too dangerous to bond out of jail.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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