BCSO calls out District Attorney’s Office over case issues

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is calling out the District Attorney’s Office publicly for a case they say fell through the cracks and the spat is playing out on social media. Law enforcement agencies and their local district attorney’s offices are supposed to work hand in hand together on cases, but the DA’s office said BCSO is airing their grievances the wrong way.

The first shot fired came from BCSO on Twitter with the hashtag “Voices for Victims NM.” “It’s an attempt to try and get some justice for victims in Bernalillo County,” said BCSO spokesperson Jayme Fuller.

The tweet briefly outlines the case against Pedro Lucas-Baltazar, who in 2018 was accused of sexually assaulting a woman and two elementary-aged girls. The BCSO tweet claims the case was dismissed because the prosecutor missed a deadline and detectives were told there wasn’t enough to proceed with the case. The tweet encouraged people to call the DA’s office so cases like this don’t fall through the cracks. However, the DA’s office said the tweet is incorrect.

According to court documents, the case was temporarily dismissed because prosecutors needed additional investigation materials like medical records and the case will still be presented to a grand jury. “Well we are of course disappointed that the sheriff’s office decided to handle this via Twitter,” said Bernalillo County DA spokesperson, Brandale Mills-Cox. Now, the DA’s office is firing back.

“The detectives aren’t thoroughly completing their investigations so our attorneys can effectively do their jobs and so the victims can get the justice they deserve,” said Mills-Cox. The DA’s office said the community is best served when investigators and prosecutors work together on cases.

“So we stand ready to work with them perhaps to provide training if necessary to ensure our office does not continue to receive insufficient cases so we can continue to prosecute them beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Mills-Cox.

The Sheriff’s Office said there needs to be a better working relationship between the two. “It’s certainly not an attack on the DA’s office by any means but more of maybe a call to action,” said Fuller. “Maybe we all need to get a seat at the same table and have a true discussion on what we need to do to fix this.”

The Sheriff’s Office claims this is a widespread problem. BCSO directed KRQE News 13 to other cases and News 13 is looking into them. The Sheriff’s Office said they plan on continuing their Twitter campaign highlighting these cases.

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