SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Are we letting criminals out too quickly before trial? Some lawmakers believe so. The state’s Supreme Court is calling on a group of powerful people to make those changes.
Time and time again, dangerous criminals and repeat offenders are released from jail as they wait for trial. Lawmakers like State Rep. Bill Rehm (R) says something has to change.
“By the current rules, they are looking at the dangerousness to the community and if no condition of release will allow the community to be safe. That is the problem,” says Rehm.
Sen. Jacob Candelaria wrote a letter to the Supreme Court several months ago, calling out the flaws in the state’s current pretrial detention laws. He says crime in the state is unacceptable.
He also places the blame on the District Attorneys, saying relying on them to seek pretrial detention is not working. Monday, the Supreme Court announced it’s creating a committee to address these concerns.
“If you start detaining some of these individuals, it will make the community safer,” says Rehm.
The committee will be made up of 15 people, including representatives from all three branches of government. Those members include Rehm, Sen. Candelaria, District Attorney Raul Torrez, and District Court Judge Stan Whitaker.
Monday’s announcement is met with some criticism by the ACLU.
“People that haven’t been convicted of a crime yet. These are people that are being detained before they have a chance to have their day in court,” says Steve Allen, ACLU’s Policy Director.