Created: 12/10/2013 6:29 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4
From recent police shootings to Monday’s high speed chase, local law enforcement is questioning why repeat offenders end up back on the streets.
“Is the system broken?” asks Kari Brandendburg. “I'd say it's doing a hell of a job considering the resources that we have.”
Bernalillo County District Attorney Brandenburg says Gar Medina isn’t a poster child of a broken criminal justice system where criminals get off no matter how many times they break the law.
“Most of offenses that he's been convicted of are 4th, 3rd degree offenses, which carry 18 months to 3 year sentence. He does get sentenced to prison,” she said.
Medina is accused of stealing a white truck in Rio Rancho and leading the truck’s owners, deputies and police on a wild chase from Coors and Paseo to Jefferson and I-25.
“Obviously the punishment that he's received in the past, hasn't sent him the correct message,” said Aaron Williamson, public information officer for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office said Monday night.
In court on Tuesday, a public defender says there’s a reason for Medina’s actions:
"Mr. Medina does have some mental conditions including PTSD that cause him to do some of these things.”
Brandenburg says true justice is a complex issue and one where the solution cannot and should not fall solely on the criminal justice system.
“We know that warehousing people in prisons for a long period of time especially when we're dealing with mental health issues and drug addiction, we're not really changing behavior," she said.
This latest charge is Medina’s fifth fleeing charge, according to online court records.
His rap sheet includes a 1999 first degree murder case which was not prosecuted.
It should be noted that not all of Medina’s criminal cases were in Bernalillo County.