DA: 60% of violent suspects staying in jail until trial
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More violent suspects are staying in jail until trial. So far this year, judges have granted 60% of pretrial detention motions.
That’s compared to 51% at this time last year.
“We are keeping more violent people behind bars pending trial,” said Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman. “We’re making arguments about the safety of our community, and why this particular individual is posing a threat to the community. And I think it’s paying off and we’re seeing it in the numbers.”
Bregman also credits the New Mexico Supreme Court’s recent clarification about the Arnold tool. It’s the tool judges can use to decide the seriousness of the conditions of release.
“They said to all the district courts out there, use your common sense,” Bregman said. “And remember, you make the decision on whether or not to release the person before you even look at the Arnold tool. And that’s really important.”
Bregman also credits the ongoing warrant roundup operation. Law enforcement has arrested 300 violent felons since the start of the operation on July 1.
“We are focusing on people out there with felony warrants for violent conduct and we are going after them,” Bregman said. “We are hunting them down. We are catching them and we are bringing them before a judge and that is making a difference.”
Bregman says the feeling of public safety goes above everything else.
“I think things are getting better. I think we’re seeing a drop in overall violent crime. I think we’re seeing a drop in homicide on year to date. And these are just statistics, but I also feel it,” Bregman said. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. This is no victory lap by any means. But I do believe things are absolutely getting better when it comes to crime.”
KOB 4 asked Bregman if he has any concerns about capacity at the Bernalillo County jail. He said he would not make a decision based on how many people are currently there – all they can do is prosecute bad guys and ask judges to put them away.
According to the county’s website, the jail is more than 600 away from capacity.