DA Raúl Torrez speaks on passed crime bills
SANTA FE, N.M. – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called for a very crime-focused legislative session, but the bill signed – by her own description – falls short of what is needed.
The crime crisis reaches all across New Mexico now but Bernalillo County faces the brunt of the violence. And the man voted to hold violent offenders accountable says the biggest failure this last legislative session – was to address the revolving door for criminals.
Bernalillo County District Attoryney, Raúl Torrez believes that won’t happen until something dramatic changes.
Ryan Laughlin: Is the lack of progress in that regard enough to call a special session in your mind?
Raúl Torrez: Well, look – everything in Santa Fe and in the Roundhouse is informed by the environment we find ourselves in and how things involve over the course of the next year. If we stay on the present course – when the weather heats up, we always have a surge in violent crime. Always. The low month for violent crime, historically, is January and February. Because it’s cold outside. When things heat up. They heat up. They heat up with guns and they heat up with violent people. And if we hit a threshold of 100 homicides, before the summer’s out – or sometime in the fall. Or if we have an instance of somebody who we’ve asked to have detained, has been let out, and is engaged in a violent dangerous act – that may change the context. That may change the environment and it may sharpen the focus of the people in Santa Fe around this issue.
Ryan Laughlin: So do you think there should be a special session to address this?
Raúl Torrez: Look… I’m going to leave that to the politicians in Santa Fe because they know if they have the votes or not. At the end of the day, if they don’t have the votes it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the tax payer and for people to – to – you know – have them called into session to have the same outcome. But… if the context changes – and the change in context changes the vote count – or changes the realization that this is something that they have to address – then I think then we’re going to have to take a hard look at that question."
Torrez says a lot of the really big issues – law makers didn’t touch. And he was critical the way this law came together – in the 11th hour and behind closed doors.