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Website calls for New Mexicans to 'fire' judges during 2018 election

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - A group of people are calling out the judges in New Mexico by creating a website highlighting judges' decisions.

They're asking voters around the state to do some homework before they go to the polls in November.

For many people in Albuquerque, electing a judge can be a blind process.

"I really don't know anything about judges so I usually don't vote judges," said Robert, an Albuquerque resident.

"I find that tough in many ways. I pay attention as much as I can, but judges are not something someone pays attention much to when it comes to elections," said Basil Swanson.

That's why a group of people created the website Clear the Bench New Mexico to focus on what they say are dangerous decisions by judges.

"People get charged with serious crimes, and they get let out on their OR you know and I don't think that's right because those are the ones that are doing crimes," said Robert.

A spokesperson for the website says they are just a group of concerned citizens who want to remain anonymous in fear of judicial retaliation.

They want New Mexicans to essentially, fire judges for letting repeat criminals off the hook.

"These people are the ones that are doing the crimes. Why should they let them out? Not everybody is doing all the crimes," said Robert.

A few examples, Judge John Buddy Sanchez released Stephanie Crownover on her own recognizance after she was accused of child abuse when a baby died in her care.

Then there's Judge Charles Brown. The judge is being accused of releasing many criminals before trial. One of the most controversial, Justin Hansen.

Police linked Hansen to the 2008 cold case beating of a 17-year-old Cibola High student.

While many people are not familiar with who the judges are now, they are frustrated with what the judges have been doing.

"It's disheartening when you see these people get charged with crime after crime, they get picked up for probation violation, and then they get let out," said Robert.

The Administrative Office of the Courts issued the following statement:

Judges must follow the Constitution and laws of New Mexico governing the pretrial release and detention of criminal defendants. Since statehood, the New Mexico Constitution has guaranteed that people charged with a crime have a right to be released while awaiting trial, except in limited instances," said Artie Pepin, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. "Judges make difficult decisions each day in setting conditions of release for defendants. Under the law, every judge places a priority on public safety and ensuring defendants will return to court for future appearances if released pretrial.

 

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