New Mexico moves forward with bail reforms

The Associated Press and Web Staff
June 06, 2017 07:01 AM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's judiciary is taking final steps toward overhauling its bail and pretrial detention system by adopting detailed rules for determining whether defendants remain in jail as they awaiting judgment.


The New Mexico Supreme Court on Monday issued comprehensive procedures for district, metropolitan, magistrate, municipal and appellate courts to determine if and when defendants can be released.

New Mexico has joined a growing number of states in adopting risk-based approaches to releasing defendants that put less emphasis on money and bail.

The rules are the result of more than two years of study and recommendations by the Court's Ad Hoc Pretrial Release Committee, chaired by former University of New Mexico Law School Dean Leo Romero

New Mexico voters approved a constitutional amendment in November allowing judges to deny bail to defendants considered extremely dangerous.

The constitutional amendment also granted pretrial release to those who are not considered a threat but remain in jail because they can't afford bail.

"The Justices of our Court agreed with our committee's view that the old system of basing pretrial release and detention decisions on who could come up with the money to buy his or her way out of jail, instead of on evidence of individual risk of dangerousness or flight, served neither community safety nor constitutional rights of accused citizens," Chief Justice Charles Daniles said in a statement Monday. "New Mexico, like a growing number of states around the country, has now taken significant steps to address important reforms toward safer and fairer administration of pretrial justice."

The newly approved procedural rules for district, metropolitan, magistrate, municipal and appellate courts can be found on the New Mexico Compilation Commission’s webpage.

The new procedures go into effect July 1.


The Associated Press and Web Staff

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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