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State Supreme Court to consider proposed CMO changes

Kai Porter
October 03, 2017 06:26 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The state Supreme Court will soon consider proposed changes to the case management order, a rule that sets strict deadlines to keep cases moving through the justice systems quickly.

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The Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council listened to four different proposals Tuesday to change the CMO rules. One of them is from District Attorney Raul Torrez, who said he doesn't have enough staff and resources to meet the strict case deadlines in the CMO.

"The CMO has compressed the amount of time that we have to do the same amount of work, and actually more work because the rate of crime is rising in this community," he said.

As a result, Torrez said too many cases are being dismissed. Torrez wants to extend the CMO deadlines and make sanctions for not meeting them optional instead of mandatory.

"Our ultimate goal is to keep an efficient and a speedy process and a fair process," he said. "But one where we actually get to questions of guilt and innocence, where we're not deciding these things on technical grounds or dismissing or sanctioning the state for technical reasons."

However, Matthew Coyte with the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association said overall the CMO is working.

"A rule of criminal procedure doesn't cause crime," he said. "And blaming the courts or the public defenders or criminal defense lawyers for obtaining dismissals when the D.A. or the state doesn't meet its burdens under the rule of criminal procedure is not an appropriate things to do."

Coyte said extending deadlines and lessening sanctions would defeat the purpose of the CMO.

"To remove any sanctions for parties who don't obey their obligations would mean the rule has no teeth and we'd revert back to the old way of doing things," he said.

The state Supreme Court is expected to consider the proposed changes during a closed-door meeting in two weeks.

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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