NM Crusaders for Justice have ‘high hopes’ for upcoming session

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alicia Otero has channeled the pain of losing her son in February 2021 into fighting for change at the state level, and the upcoming session in January will be no different.

Her cofounded group “New Mexico Crusaders for Justice” has a few priorities.

“We just want this to stop. We know it’ll never stop, but it needs to slow down,” said Otero. 

First, they want to see an amendment to the bail reform law voters passed in 2016.

“We want to take violent offenders off the street until trial,” said Otero. “For instance my son’s alleged killer was let out even though he was charged with two homicides. He was still let out. We had to go to the Supreme Court to get it overruled, and that shouldn’t even be an option.”

They also want to see more funding passed for victim advocates.

“It’s so crucial,” said Otero. “So many families are hurting from losing someone to violent crime. We do have victim advocates here in Albuquerque, and it’s working really well. We need it spread throughout all of New Mexico for all the people who don’t have resources.”

But her hope comes with some worry.

“All the candidates that had promised us they were going to make the changes didn’t get elected,” said Otero. 

Specifically Nicole Chavez, who lost the race for House District 28. Chavez is a mother who also lost her son to gun violence, and has worked alongside the crusaders group.

There’s also the question of who will replace Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez. 

Otero says Torrez has been a strong ally of the group.

“I hope we can all work together and come out with a plan to help families and stop this crime crisis,” said Otero.

The New Mexico Crusaders for Justice now have more than 800 members across the state, including two new chapters in Ruidoso and Farmington.