New Mexico District Attorney John Sugg speaks out about New Mexico bail reform, saying “It’s time to amend the amendment.”
A year later, the Supreme Court of New Mexico has yet to address major concerns raised by district attorneys in New Mexico concerning the Supreme Court Rule changes and amendment that upended the pretrial release system in the state. Now, DA’s are speaking out.
“The courts have failed to act and it’s time for the people to step up and demand change. It is time to amend the amendment. I served as the New Mexico District Attorneys’ Association’s representative on the Supreme Court’s committee that addresses the pretrial release rules,” Sugg said. “The courts have had almost two years to implement common sense, community safety measures that would protect your family and mine. New Mexico is the only state in the country where there is not a presumption of detention for 1st-degree murder. Not coincidentally, we are also consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous states in the country.
(from Ruidoso News – Oct 15 2018)
With the Supreme Court of New Mexico affirming the 12th Judicial District Court decision to grant bail to a man accused of killing his 2-year-old son, District Attorney John Sugg, who had appealed the original bail decision, issued a statement saying it is time people demand a change.
“During the last year, I have seen child pornographers, rapists, child molesters, armed robbers, and killers walk out of jails across the state after the prosecution had presented up to four hours of testimony regarding the dangerousness of a defendant. The overwhelming majority of these opinions have been upheld at the appellate level, including the most recent (Ricardo) Soto decision.”
A year ago, the NMDAA sent a letter to Chief Justice Judith Nakamura asking the state Supreme Court to review the pretrial release rules.
“As the 2018 legislative session was approaching, the Supreme Court began the process of reviewing the rules to consider amendments to address the concerns raised by NMDAA,” Sugg said. “Here we are nearly a year later and the Court has failed to act to address the obvious shortcomings in the rules. It has become apparent that the goal of telling the public to be patient while the courts develop case law interpreting the rules is merely a ploy to placate everyone until the latest public outrage dies down and then nothing changes.“
Our pretrial release amendment adopted by voters in 2016, was allegedly modeled after the federal Bail Reform Act which was implemented over 30 years ago. We have 30 years of federal jurisprudence that we as a state have largely ignored. One needs to look no further than the recent Taos compound case where a state district court judge ordered the release of five people charged with nearly a dozen counts of child abuse. Those same defendants were held by the federal court when the U.S. Attorney’s Office brought weapons charges against them. If our new pretrial release system is supposed to be modeled after the federal bail system, why does the federal court hold the same dangerous defendants we release?”