ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After he was shot by a homeowner during a botched burglary, the suspect begged a judge to let him out of jail. Eventually he got his wish, and months later he’s accused of another violent felony.
“I am aware of my actions and I am definitely aware that my actions towards the community are not very safe,” Javier Valenzuela told a judge in December 2015.
Then 19-years-old, Valenzuela pleaded with a judge to let him go with no bond.
What landed Valenzuela in jail in the first place, police said, was a crime that almost got him killed.
Albuquerque police lapel video from December 2015 shows Valenzuela lying on the ground, dumped in front of UNM Hospital with gunshot wounds.
Police said Valenzuela was shot at least twice after an armed homeowner caught Valenzuela and an accomplice trying to steal his SUV. The homeowner said Valenzuela pointed a gun at him, but the homeowner shot first.
Officers agreed the homeowner was defending himself, and charged Valenzuela with aggravated burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.
Valenzuela’s pleas to the judge to release him didn’t work. His bond was set at $50,000 cash our surety, meaning he could get out by paying $5,000.
But court records show weeks after he was arrested, Valenzuela was released on supervision of Pretrial Services, without paying anything. This was the start of a pattern.
“We’re arresting the same people over and over again,” said Officer Fred Duran, of the Albuquerque Police Department.
In March of 2016, Valenzuela was placed on GPS tracking under pretrial supervision.
In April, a warrant was issued for Valenzuela for failure to comply with the conditions of his release. He was arrested again that month and went back to jail on a $5,000 cash only bond.
However, court records show one day later, his bond was lowered to $1,000 cash or surety, meaning he’d only have to pay a bondsman $100 to get out.
According to court records, he didn’t have to pay the $100 after all. Valenzuela was released in May of 2016 on intensive supervision, under the condition he’d have to wear an ankle monitor.
Eight months later, Valenzuela was arrested again.
“When we found him he was actually hiding from us,” explained Detective Daniel Portell, with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit.
Portell is one of the arresting detectives in Valenzuela’s most recent case.
“I went to the hospital, I spoke with the female and she identified that she was raped by Javier Valenzuela,” Det. Portell recalled.
Detectives said the victim is 18-years-old. She was taken to Lovelace Medical Center last week where she reported Javier Valenzuela sexually assaulted her in her car.
The teen claims it happened outside of his house, where his ankle monitor does allow him to be.
Detectives used GPS from his ankle monitor to track Valenzuela, and arrested him last week for felony rape and false imprisonment.
“I think that the departments and our court system really need to work to provide that the public is safe,” said Portell.
Voters agree. A constitutional amendment passed by a landslide in November, granting New Mexico judges new authority to “deny release on bail pending trial for dangerous defendants in felony cases.”
However, President of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, Matthew Coyte, warns judges should use the amendment carefully.
“Not everyone charged with armed robbery would be considered dangerous under this amendment,” explained Coyte. “It would have to be those who have a demonstrable conduct of dangerous behavior.”
Coyte also points to the flip side of the amendment. “Both are equally important,” he explained.
“Those who are not dangerous should be released. In other words, poor people shouldn’t sit in jail waiting for their case because they can’t afford to post a bond.”
Coyte said it’s up to prosecutors and judges to find the balance.
In this case, Valenzuela was booked into jail three times in just over a year. This time he’s still in jail on a no bond hold.
Valenzuela has since pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the burglary case. He is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in that case next month.