SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on bail bond reforms in New Mexico (all times local):
The New Mexico Supreme Court has affirmed that witness testimony is not always necessary in applying new constitutional provisions that can keep criminal suspects jailed without bail until they go to trial.
Chief Justice Charles Daniels summarized the court’s position Wednesday in response to concerns from prosecutors that detention hearings for extremely dangerous defendants may be derailed or bogged down by trial-like requirements.
The Supreme Court said it will provide more detailed written guidance in the near future about evidentiary procedures at detention hearings to justify holding defendants without bail.
Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez appealed to the high court for guidance after his motions to deny bail were rejected in two cases related to a suspect in multiple armed robberies and man accused of shooting his pregnant wife.
The Supreme Court is deferring to the rulings of a district court judge in those cases, while also allowing prosecutors to seek further consideration of evidence presented without witnesses.
The high court said another district court judge fulfilled evidentiary requirements in denying pretrial release to a woman charged with murder in the connection with the theft of a vehicle and a subsequent crash that killed two people.
Prosecutors and public defenders are turning to the New Mexico Supreme Court for guidance on how to apply new constitutional provisions that can keep an accused person jailed without bond until trial.
Justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments Wednesday aimed at clarifying what evidence must be presented at detention hearings to justify holding a defendant without bail.
The court will focus on three criminal cases from the Albuquerque-based Second Judicial District, where District Attorney Raul Torrez has requested dozens of no-bond detentions with limited success.
Torrez says two well-documented requests for pre-trial detention were denied simply because no witnesses were called. In another case, a public defender says his client was denied bail without clear and convincing evidence that she posed a danger.
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