DA Torrez talks new attorney general position, potential replacement

[anvplayer video=”5151722″ station=”998122″]

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. – Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez will become attorney general in just a few weeks, the governor is considering who will replace him as district attorney.  

We caught up with Torrez to talk about the transition, and the challenges his replacement will face. 

“I will offer any feedback and council I can directly to the governor. There are a number of high qualified attorneys on that list,” said Torrez. 

Torrez says he trusts Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to appoint someone ready to serve the public as his successor. 10 people have applied to take over the role. 

Candidates include longtime Defense Attorney Sam Bregman, former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez and three current deputy prosecutors in the DA’s office. 

Torrez won’t say if he has anyone he would like to see in the role, but he says whoever it is needs to be ready to work. 

“It’s a very challenging job I can say. It’s been one of the great honors of my life to serve in that role, but it’s tough. And whoever steps into that position is going to have to be ready for a big one,” Torrez said. 

We asked Torrez about what he sees at the top challenges Bernalillo County is facing when it comes to crime. 

“Obviously violent crime, specifically gun related violence in the city. We’ve got to do more, in terms of detaining and keeping the most violent repeat offenders off the street, that’s something that we’ve been talking about for a very long time,” said Torrez. 

He says issues with our current pretrial detention system strains not only the DA’s office but APD as well. 

“Whether it’s access to the grand jury, or a lack of detention which ends up being people that we have to arrest over, and over, and over again,” Torrez said. “All of that consumes a valuable and very limited police resource that is the key to turning this into a safer community.”

We asked if Torrez plans to have a more aggressive role in criminal cases once he becomes attorney general. 

“What you’re going to see from the attorney general’s office is deploying our resources in the criminal space. In those instances where local prosecutors don’t have the time or expertise the bandwidth to take on, organized crime, crime that crosses multiple jurisdictions, complex retail operations, human trafficking operations,” said Torrez.