Updated: November 12, 2019 08:01 PM
Created: November 12, 2019 04:32 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- U.S. Attorney Bill Barr believes New Mexico's laws are subpar and don't keep violent offenders off our streets.
He made the statement Tuesday as he announced the results of a crime-fighting initiative in the state.
“What these partnerships allow is the state and local law enforcement -- when they identify a case of a dangerous offender, they can take it to the feds and have us use our laws that are stronger,” Barr said. “Hopefully, at some point, New Mexico's system will come up to snuff.”
That idea is one that Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez is already using for crimes involving guns.
Instead of trying the cases in state courts, he moves them over to federal courts, where laws are tougher and judges are more inclined to keep suspects behind bars pending trial.
Barr said he sees problems with New Mexico’s bail reform law, which voters passed.
“That has the effect of not only allowing the offender back on the street where they can commit more crimes, but it also intimidates the neighborhood and prevents people from coming forward because they feel these people will be right back out on the streets,” Barr said. “I think part of the problem there is the judiciary in New Mexico, not using the laws that they have to keep dangerous offenders in pretrial detention.
The Law Offices of the Public Defender was critical of Barr's statements. They said the federal government should help communities by sticking around and offering funding for more drug treatment, education, jobs and rehabilitation in our prison system--- instead of playing the blame game.
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