SANTA FE, N.M. — Prosecutors, bail bondsmen and public defenders are describing a criminal justice system in upheaval as courtrooms across New Mexico adjust to new bail and pretrial detention rules.
Judicial officials told state lawmakers Thursday that the rules are requiring more work to determine whether defendants pose a danger or flight risk.
New Mexico adopted new rules for pretrial detention and release on July 1 after voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that allows dangerous defendants to be held until trial without bail. The amendment also ensures people don’t languish in jail only because they cannot pay money to ensure they appear at trial.
New Mexico District Attorney’s Association President Rick Tedrow says prosecutors in San Juan County alone are devoting an additional 26 hours a week to initial court appearances.