A CALL TO REFORM THE STATE’S BAIL SYSTEM
ALBUQUERQUE (KSMX)- The top prosecutor in New Mexico’s busiest court district called for another state constitutional amendment to change how judges decide who remains jailed before trial. Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez said the voter-approved system in place now has allowed for the release of violent and dangerous offenders. Torrez’s push for further reforms would require judges to presume people charged with a limited range of serious felonies should remain jailed, unless defendants are able to make a successful case for their release.
Torrez’s proposals come as state and local officials struggle to stem a nearly decade-long rise in crime in Albuquerque, the state’s largest city. Legislators would have to first approve Torrez’s proposal for a constitutional amendment before it could go before voters in 2020.
It’s designed to allow judges to deny bail before trial for the most high-risk, dangerous defendants, and release low-risk defendants who otherwise may have remained in jail simply because they did not have the means to make bond.