DA Torrez said Supreme Court needs to act fast on pre-trial detention reforms | KOB 4

DA Torrez said Supreme Court needs to act fast on pre-trial detention reforms

Chris Ramirez
Created: June 24, 2020 10:18 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The district attorney’s request to keep a man behind bars until trial was finally granted after the man allegedly carried out murder. District Attorney Raul Torrez asked judges three times to hold Jamol Pete in pretrial detention, but with no luck.

In June 2019, Jamol Pete was suspected of shooting two people in their feet in a homeless camp in Albuquerque. APD charged him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Afterwards, the district attorney’s office asked Judge Brett Lovelace to detain him in pretrial, but the judge denied the request and allowed him to remain free under court supervision.

In September 2019, Pete missed a court date. The following month, the court found out he wasn’t always showing up for drug tests. When he did, THC was found in his system twice. Pete also allowed his GPS monitoring device to die.

For the second time, D.A. Torrez’s office asked the court to hold Pete in pre-trial. Judge Cristina Jaramillo denied the motion and set him free again.

Over the next two months, Pete failed to show up to his mandatory drug screening. He tested positive for THC again and didn’t participate in his mandatory treatment.

In December 2019, the district attorney’s office asked the court to keep him behind bars for the third time. Judge Alisa Hart denied the request and allowed Pete to go back out on the streets.

Fourteen days later, on December 16. 2019, police found Noah Najero murdered at the Canyon Vista Apartments on Montgomery near Carlisle. He was found bleeding in the parking lot.

Jamol Pete was identified as the suspect.

“It is a really sad story about a young man in this community that lost his life that shouldn't have,” Raul Torrez said. “ And he was killed by somebody who, quite frankly, shouldn't have been on the streets of Albuquerque.”

Torrez said it’s cases like this that prove his point: The current pre-trial detention system in New Mexico doesn’t work and needs refinement.

“We moved to detain him, we lost that. We filed subsequent motions repeatedly because he had multiple violations of his conditions of release and he was reinstated and reinstated and he ultimately took another young person's life,” he said. “It's our hope that we can fix this system and we are really looking to the Supreme Court to step in and put us on a new path.”

Late last year, the New Mexico Supreme Court appointed Torrez and others to recommend changes to the New Mexico’s pretrial detention system.

The court justices have not stated whether they will accept the proposed changes.

“They can accept or reject our recommendations,” said Torrez. “I think it's obvious we need to change things. I just hope we have the political will to do that. I will say I think this is the last opportunity the judiciary has to correct this problem.”

Jamol Pete was finally placed in pre-trial detention after the fourth request. Judge Jacqueline Flores agreed to keep him in jail pending his trial, but that only came after he was charged with murder.

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