DA Torrez fighting to keep repeat burglar behind bars until trial

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The District Attorney says a dangerous crook admitted he’s behind more than 26 home burglaries but that still has not been enough to keep him behind bars until trial. Now, the District Attorney is asking the New Mexico Supreme Court to weigh in.

From July last summer through January, more than 80 Albuquerque homes were burglarized in the middle of the night while the homeowners were asleep. The Albuquerque Police Department believes they’re all connected.

Police arrested 18-year-old Jesse Mascareno-Haidle in late January for two of the burglaries but District Attorney Raul Torrez says he confessed to more than 20, yet Mascareno-Haidle is out free. “It’s somebody that was so prolific, and in our judgment so dangerous and so brazen, that he is somebody that we believe should be detained,” said Torrez.

Torrez has been fighting to keep Mascareno-Haidle behind bars until trial. “We lost our two detention motions that we filed on this defendant in District Court, we then took it up on appeal to the court of appeals and lost again,” Torrez said.

Torrez says in the order issued by the court, they agreed that Mascareno-Haidle was a danger but he says there is a lack of clarity on when defendants should be released. In 2016, New Mexico voters approved a Constitutional amendment that allows judges to release suspects before trial unless prosecutors can prove the suspect is a danger to the community.

“One of the things we haven’t been able to do is come up with a definite legal standard for when we can establish and how we can establish when someone is not a good candidate for pretrial release,” said Torrez. He is now asking the state Supreme Court to step in.

“There needs to be more guidance and direction from the Supreme Court. My hope is with that guidance, it will enable the District Court judges and Court of Appeals judges to have a more comprehensive understanding of what the state is required to show whenever we ask for detention,” Torrez said.

Torrez says it’s an issue that comes up again and again especially in cases like this one where the defendant has a limited or no criminal history. “We are all trying to build a system where, when we identify violent and dangerous people like this, and career people like, this who are engaged in this pattern of conduct, that we can get them off the streets and make Albuquerque a safer place,” Torrez said.

APD says Mascareno-Haidle and 17-year-old Joshua Templeton would target homes backed up to an open space allowing them to enter from unlocked back doors or windows.

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