Law that permitted judge to allow Fabian Gonzales out of jail could undergo changes | KOB 4

Law that permitted judge to allow Fabian Gonzales out of jail could undergo changes

Patrick Hayes
Updated: November 07, 2019 05:06 PM
Created: November 07, 2019 04:50 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A controversial state law sets high standards to keep defendants in jail.

The law is the reason a judge allowed for the release of Fabian Gonzales, one of the original suspects in death of 10-year-old Victoria Martens.


In 2016, New Mexico voters agreed to a constitutional amendment that changed the criteria judges must consider to assign bond amounts to criminal defendants.

Since then, it's resulted in some controversial decisions to release defendants.

State Rep. Bill Rehm, a Republican, said he will try to change the law.

“I plan to re-introduce legislation to tweak the bail amendment," Rehm said.

The state representative has tried and failed three other times.

Rehm said his bill would have a judge consider a suspect's charges, criminal history and any failure to appear.

According to the district attorney’s office, Gonzales had a history of violating his conditions of release and a very long criminal record.

“Given the law, I understand how the judge made his ruling-- which is problematic,” Rehm said. “This individual has a very good past history of not appearing in court, and that's one of the reasons you would detain someone."

District Attorney Raul Torrez has previously said the 2016 law is making Albuquerque more dangerous.

He wants to shift the burden from prosecutors to defendants.

“We didn't get it right the first time,” Torrez said. “I think there was an expectation that we would consistently detain the most violent offenders, the most dangerous offenders, but it simply isn't the case. “

Under Torrez’s proposal, suspects who are charged with violent crimes would be held without bond pending trial-- unless the defendant convinces a judge otherwise.

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