New Constitutional Amendment Proposed for Public Safety | The Line
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New Constitutional Amendment Proposed for Public Safety | The Line

October 18, 2019


>>IN 2016, VOTERS IN NEW
MEXICO OVERWHELMINGLY PASSED AMENDMENT TO THE STATE
CONSTITUTION ALLOWING JUDGES TO DETAIN ACCUSED, NOT
CONVICTED, ACCUSED, PEOPLE IN JAIL BEFORE TRIAL IF THE COURT
DEEMS THEM A THREAT. IT ALSO REINFORCED THE RIGHT
TO BE FREE UNTIL CONVICTION, A PRINCIPLE INSHRINED IN THE
CONSTITUTION SINCE STATEHOOD. IN PRACTICE, THE ADJUSTMENT
HAS ELICITED PROTEST FROM THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AS THE COURT
AND PROSECUTORS TRY TO FIGURE OUT A NEW SYSTEM AND THE NEW
BERNALILLO COUNTY DISTRICT RECALL, RAUL TORREZ, WANTS
ANOTHER CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT REVERSING PART OF
THE ONE PASSED NOT EVEN THREE YEARS AGO. STARTING THERE AND ALSO
CHATTING ABOUT CRIME IN ALBUQUERQUE, HERE TO HELP US,
UNM LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR, SERGE MARTINEZ. TOM GARRITY IS WITH US, OWNER
OF THE GARRITY GROUP, PR, ONE OF THE REGULARS. RACHEL SAMS IS BACK, EDITOR OF
ALBUQUERQUE BUSINESS FIRST AND ANOTHER REGULAR, SOPHIE
MARTIN, ATTORNEY, AS WELL. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.>>SOPHIE, WHAT IS YOUR
OPINION ON THE PROPOSED REVERSAL? JUST IN THE BROADEST SENSE,
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE GOAL IS HERE FOR THE DISTRICT
ATTORNEY?>>I THINK THERE ARE A COUPLE
GOALS. I DO BELIEVE THAT THE DISTRICT
ATTORNEY BELIEVES THAT THIS WOULD BE A FIX FOR WHAT HE AND
HIS OFFICE PERCEIVE TO BE A PROBLEM THAT IS MAKING IT MORE
DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO DO THEIR JOBS. BUT, THERE ARE COMPETING
INTERESTS HERE AND THERE ARE COMPETING VALUES HERE. EVERY TIME WE SEE A HIGH
PROFILE CRIME, THERE IS THIS KIND OF, YOU KNOW, LIKE BRING
OUT THE TORCHES AND BRING OUT THE PITCHFORKS KIND OF THING
THAT HAPPENS WHERE EVERYONE WITHIN THE LEGAL INDUSTRY GETS
BLAMED, COURTS AND JUDGES, DA GETS BLAMED. I DON’T KNOW IF THE PUBLIC
DEFENDER GETS BLAMED, MAYBE. AND SOMETIMES IT EVEN HITS THE
LEGISLATURE, BUT THIS ORIGINAL CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT WAS
AN ATTEMPT INTENDED TO ADDRESS A REAL PROBLEM IN OR STATE AND
OR COMMUNITY AND IT IS A PROBLEM ACTUALLY THAT COURTS
AND COMMUNITIES ARE STRUGGLING WITH ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHICH
IS THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE NEVER CONVICTED OF A CRIME IN MANY
CASES MAY BE INCARCERATED FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME PRIOR
TO EITHER HAVING THEIR DAY IN COURT OR LEARNING THE CHARGES
HAVE BEEN DISMISSED AND SPENDING THAT TIME
INCARCERATED MEANS THAT YOU ARE NOT WORKING, YOU’RE NOT
TAKING CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN, YOUR FAMILY, YOU’RE NOT PAYING
YOUR RENT. THERE IS OFTEN SIGNIFICANT
LOSS OF EVERYTHING THAT WE THINK OF AS BEING, YOU KNOW,
PART OF OR LIVES AND THEN TURNS OUT THAT PERSON NEVER
GETS CONVICTED. THERE IS A PRESUMPTION IN THE
U.S. AND AS YOU MENTIONED BEFORE IN NEW MEXICO OF
GUILTY — I SAID IT BACKWARDS. INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. BUT WE HAVEN’T IN THIS COUNTRY
NECESSARILY TREATED PEOPLE AS IF WE REALLY BELIEVED THAT. I EXPECT THAT THERE IS GOING
TO CONTINUE TO BE GROWING PAINS BUT IT REMAINS TO BE
SEEN WHETHER THIS PARTICULAR PROPOSAL CAN MAKE IT WITH THE
ELECTORATE.>>SERGE, YOUR THOUGHT ON
THIS? I KNOW YOU WATCHED THIS ONE
CLOSELY. WHAT IS YOUR SENSE OF IT?>>LIKE SHE WAS SAYING, WE
RESPONDING IN SOME WAYS TO HIGH PROFILE.>>IS IT OVERREACTION? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE SAYING?>>I MEAN, I THINK IT IS EASY
TO SEE WHEN WE HAVE THIS PERCEIVED MALFUNCTION OF
SOMEONE WHO WAS RELEASED THAT WE THINK SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN,
RIGHT, BUT AGAIN, REMEMBER WHATEVER THEY HAVE BEEN
ACCUSED OF, THEY ARE PRESUMED TO BE INNOCENCE AND ALL THE
ALLEGATIONS ARE PRESUMED TO BE UNTRUE UNTIL PROVEN, RIGHT? BUT, WHEN THERE IS A
MALFUNCTION IN THE OTHER DIRECTION, IT IS INVISIBLE. WHEN SOMEONE IS HELD WHO
SHOULD NOT BE, RIGHT, THEN WE DON’T SEE THAT. AND IT IS EASY TO SAY, THE
SYSTEM IS BROKEN BECAUSE OF THE THINGS WE CAN SEE. WE REALLY NEED TO WATCH OUT
FOR THE THINGS WE CAN’T SEE, EVIDENCE OF THE SYSTEM BEING
BROKEN. AND I AM PROUD THE WAY NEW
MEXICO HAS BEEN LEADING THIS LATEST WAVE OF BAIL REFORM TO
ADDRESS INEQUITIES, DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT ON
COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AND LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES. IT IS WAY TO SOON TO BE —
THIS IS BROKEN AND WE NEED TO FIX IT. I THINK IT GOES IN THE WRONG
DIRECTION TO TRY TO PUSH BACK AGAINST THIS PRESUMPTION THAT
PEOPLE ARE INNOCENT, BUT ALSO OUR STATE AND SORT OF GENTLE
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. IT IS WORTH NOTING ONE OF THE
IMPACTS OF THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT WOULD
BE TO FLIP THAT PRESUMPTION ON INNOCENCE ON ITS HEAD DURING
THE PRETRIAL PERIOD WHERE THE PRESUMPTION NOT REALLY
NECESSARY TO THE PERSON BUT TO THE CRIME IN MANY CASES, WOULD
BE THAT YOU WERE GUILTY.>>BURDEN GOES BACK ON THE
PERSON. UNLIKELY TO HAVE A LOT OF
RESOURCES, THEY ARE CERTAINLY NOT THE SAME RESOURCES THAT
THE GOVERNMENT DOES AND PEOPLE WHO ARE IN JAIL HAVE A HARDER
TIME DEFENDING THEMSELVES, PREPARING THEIR OWN CASES.>>THAT IS A PROVEN FACT RIGHT
THERE.>>RACHEL, INTERESTINGLY THE
PUBLIC, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE NUANCES OF LAW AND THAT IS
ALL GOOD BUT THE PUBLIC IS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING HERE AND
FROM THE DA’S OFFICE AS WELL. AND THEY HAVE BEEN CLEAR ABOUT
THAT SINCE THE LAST DA HAD THE SEAT AS WELL. IS MR. TORREZ SAYING, WE NEED
TO TAKE DRASTIC ACTION HERE. I HEAR YOU. I WAS ELECTED TO MAKE CHANGES
OR PROPOSE SOME CHANGE, CAN’T MAKE THEM ON HIS OWN. BUT HE’S PROPOSING SOMETHING
THE LEGISLATURE HAS TO WRESTLE WITH. HAS HE PUT SOMETHING IN MOTION
THAT WE SHOULD HAVE A GOOD CONVERSATION. MAYBE NOT SUCH A BAD THING AT
THE END OF THE DAY.>>SOPHIE AND SERGE HAVE MADE
GOOD POINTS. THE POINT ABOUT EVERYBODY
INVOLVED WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT, THE JUSTICE SYSTEM, THE LEGAL
SYSTEM IS TAKING HEAT BECAUSE OF THE ISSUES THAT WE FACE
WITH CRIME AND THOSE ISSUES ARE SO SERIOUS. I THINK THAT WHAT I WOULD LOVE
TO SEE IS ALL OF THESE PLAYERS GET TOGETHER IN A ROOM AND
NEGOTIATE SOME SOLUTIONS THAT WILL KEEP OUR STREETS SAFER
AND REALLY RESPECT AND HAVE A VOICE FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL
RIGHTS OF DEFENDANTS. I DON’T THINK THOSE TWO THINGS
ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.>>PICK UP ON THAT. CAN YOU DO BOTH AND KEEP THE
STREETS SAFE.>>I THINK THE SOLUTION HERE
IS EVERYBODY STICKING TO THEIR OWN LANE, YOU KNOW. WHAT YOU HAVE IS YOU HAVE THIS
WEATHER SYSTEM CREATED WITH APD AND INCREASED CRIME. BCSO AND DEBATE AROUND THEM
NOT USING ANY TYPE OF CAMERAS, LAPEL OR DASHBOARD, AND THEN
YOU HAVE THE STATE POLICE BEING BROUGHT IN TO HELP QUELL
THE ALBUQUERQUE SITUATION FOR A SIX-WEEK PERIOD, SO
BASICALLY WHAT YOU HAVE IS YOU HAVE THIS MOUNTING TENSION
THAT THE DA, I THINK HE PLAYED RIGHT INTO IT, WHICH IS
UNFORTUNATE BECAUSE I AM A FAN OF MR. TORREZ. I THINK HE IS REALLY DOING
SOME GOOD THINGS. I THINK WHAT HAPPENED HERE WAS
HE GOT CAUGHT UP IN THE WEATHER SYSTEM, OH, MY GOSH WE
HAVE TO HAVE SOME CHANGE AND PROPOSED SOMETHING THAT MAKES
REPUBLICANS SMILE AND DEMOCRATS CRINGE. SO, I THINK WHAT HIS SOLUTION
IS RIGHT NOW IS REALLY PROOF OF PERFORMANCE. IF HE WERE TO SAY, YOU KNOW
WHAT, IT WAS JUST AN IDEA. LET ME GO BACK AND FOCUS ON
GETTING THE DA’S OFFICE IN ORDER, FOCUS ON PROSECUTIONS,
FOCUS ON REALLY SPEEDING UP THAT WHOLE TRIAL PROCESS, FOR
THAT, THAT IS WHAT I THINK ALBUQUERQUE RESIDENTS WANT TO
SEE AND BERNALILLO COUNTY RESIDENTS WANT TO SEE. HE IS DOING WHAT HE WAS HIRED
TO DO, HE WAS DOING WHAT HE RAN ON WHICH WAS TO CLEAN UP
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY FROM THE PREVIOUS DA BRANDENBURG AND HE
HAS THAT CHARGE. NOW, TO GO AND TALK ABOUT
ANOTHER CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, HE NEEDS TO GO BACK
AND FOCUS ON THE BUSINESS.>>SOPHIE, WITHOUT GETTING
PRESUMPTION OF DETENTION, INTERESTING PROSPECT HERE, I
UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO, READ WHAT THEY
WANT TO, DEFENDANT COULD BE DETAINED FOR, QUOTE, ANY ONE
OF THE GROUNDS OF DANGEROUSNESS, FLIGHT RISK OR
OBSTRUCTION OF THE CRIMINAL PROCESS. THAT IS A DEPARTURE FROM THE
CURRENT SYSTEM WHICH ONLY ALLOWS MOTIONS BASED ON
DANGEROUSNESS. HE IS TRYING TO THREAD A
NEEDLE.>>MY ASSUMPTION IS THAT THE
SET OF PRIORITIES OR CONDITIONS THAT ARE BEING
PROPOSED WOULD ALLOW THE DA’S OFFICE TO CAST A MUCH WIDER
NET AND MAKE IT MUCH EASIER FOR THEM TO MAKE THEIR CASE
THAT SOMEBODY SHOULD BE DETAINED. ONE OF THE THINGS I THINK IS
IMPORTANT TO NOTE IS ALBUQUERQUE IS THE TAIL THAT
IS WAGGING THIS DOG. WE ARE GETTING THIS PUSH FROM
ALBUQUERQUE. THERE IS A DISCUSSION OF CRIME
IN ALBUQUERQUE. THERE IS CRIME IN OTHER PARTS
OF THE STATE. DA’S AND PUBLIC DEFENDERS AND
COURTS ARE DEALING WITH THESE ISSUES IN OTHER PARTS OF THE
STATE AND WHILE THIS — THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THAT
WE HAVE NOW WHEN IT WAS PUT TOGETHER IT WAS THE RESULT OF
THE COURTS CALLING TOGETHER A WIDE RANGE OF CONSTITUENCIES
TO TRY AND ADDRESS A PROBLEM THAT HAS BEEN HERE FOR QUITE A
LONG TIME. I DON’T THINK THAT THE CHANGE
SHOULD BE MADE WITHOUT INPUT FROM THE REST OF THE STATE,
OTHER CONSTITUENCIES, ET CETERA. THAT HAS TO BE REMEMBERED.>>IS THE LEGISLATURE IS
APPROPRIATE PLACE TO HANDLE THIS?>>THAT IS WHERE IT HAS TO
PASS, IT HAS TO GO TO THE LEGISLATURE BEFORE THE VOTERS
HAVE A CHANCE TO TAKE A CRACK AT IT.>>RACHEL, TALK ABOUT CRIME. WE HAD INTERESTING HIGH
PROFILE ARTICLE RECENTLY ABOUT CRIME HERE IN ALBUQUERQUE,
YOU’RE WELL AWARE OF ACTIVITIES IN NOB HILL AND
DOWNTOWN, WEST DOWNTOWN TO GET BUSINESSES PROTECTED BETTER
AND ALL THAT KIND OF A THING. I AM WONDERING IF THE STATE
POLICING THAT TOM MENTIONED EARLIER, WE HAD TWO SHOOTINGS
FAIRLY QUICKLY OFF THE BAT. IT IS ONLY FOR A LIMITED
AMOUNT OF TIME BUT WE’RE LEARNING THERE REALLY WASN’T A
WHOLE LOT OF DIRECTION, YOU KNOW, RIGHT OFF THE TOP AND
THIS IDEA THAT WE ARE UNDER THE DOJ HERE. WE DON’T NEED PEOPLE SHOOTING
PEOPLE WILLIE NILLY TO GET LAW UNDER CONTROL. WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS,
DOWN THIS ROAD. HOW IS THIS WORKING OUT SO FAR
IN YOUR VIEW WITH THE STATE POLICE? IS IT A PLUS OR MINUS OR NEED
MORE TIME?>>SO, I THINK IT SEEMED LIKE
WHEN IT WAS FIRST ANNOUNCED THAT ALBUQUERQUE WOULD GET 50
STATE POLICE OFFICER, IT WAS ALMOST LIKE YOU HEARD A SIGH
OF RELIEF, CITY IS GETTING SOME HELP, WE HAVE BEEN
UNDERSTAFFED ON OFFICERS, STRUGGLING TO FILL THOSE SPOTS
FOR SO LONG. AND ALMOST IMMEDIATELY, YOU
HAVE TWO SHOOTINGS BY THE STATE POLICE AND I THINK
PEOPLE JUST SORT OF LIKE SHOOK THEIR HEADS AND LIKE WERE,
WHOA, THIS THROWS US RIGHT BACK TO WHERE WE WERE IN THE
EARLY DAYS OF DEALING WITH THE DOJ AND IT SHOWS THERE IS NOT
GOING TO BE A QUICK FIX.>>THAT IS A GOOD POINT. SERGE YOUR THOUGHT ON THAT,
THIS IS THE NO. 1 ISSUE FOR ALBUQUERQUE RIGHT NOW FOR
EVERYBODY. WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE CITY,
THIS IS THE NO. 1 ISSUE. IS THIS THE SOLUTION, THE
STATE POLICE FOLKS?>>I DON’T THINK SO. I MEAN THE IDEA OF HAVING A
SURGE OF POLICE OFFICERS IS I UNDERSTAND THE APPEAL OF IT. I AM CONCERNED, RIGHT, BECAUSE
THE RESPONSE HAS BEEN, WELL, YOU THE STATE POLICE ARE UNDER
A DIFFERENT MICROSCOPE THAN APD IS, WHATEVER, WHICH IS TO
MY MIND THE WRONG WAY TO LOOK AT IT. SAY, LOOK, THERE IS A REASON
THAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO THESE THINGS THIS WAY IN ALBUQUERQUE
IN APD. IT IS NOT A SPECIAL THING THAT
ONLY APPLIES TO APD. THESE ARE GOOD IDEAS AND GOOD
PROTOCOLS, SO HAVING FOLKS IN OUR CITY THAT IT IS UNIQUE IN
THE STATE TO NOT HAVE THEM GO THROUGH THAT TRAINING OR THAT
MINDSET AND IT IS A MISTAKE, THESE ANOMALIES HAPPEN BUT IT
DOESN’T LOOK GOOD AND DOESN’T MAKE ME FEEL SAFER.>>TOM, ONE OF THE INCIDENTS,
SIMPLE TRAFFIC STOP AND ONE OF THE OFFICERS DISCHARGED HIS
WEAPON AT SOMEBODY WHO WAS FLEEING, CAUGHT THE GUY IN THE
SHOULDER, BUT I REMIND YOU THE STATE POLICE ARE ALSO THE ONES
THAT SHOT AT THAT WOMAN IN THE VAN WITH THE KIDS, YOU
REMEMBER THIS, A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO? THAT OFFICER GOT FIRED. I HAD A GOOD FRIEND MADE A
GOOD POINT, SAID, IT IS DIFFERENT IN AN URBAN SETTING
FOR POLICING THAN IT IS FOR STATE POLICE WHO ARE USUALLY
OUT IN MORE RURAL SETTINGS. DOES THAT MAKE LOGICAL SENSE
TO YOU? YOU CAN’T JUST FLIP A SWITCH
AND BE THE URBAN STREET COP GUY IF YOU’RE USED TO CRUISING
AROUND ON THE HIGHWAY ALL DAY.>>THE STATE POLICE HAVE THEIR
OWN SET RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. THE APD HAS THEIR OWN RULES OF
ENGAGEMENTS. I THINK WHAT HAPPENED OR WHAT
COULD HAVE HAPPENED BETTER WAS THE COORDINATION OF THOSE TWO
THINGS AS FAR AS INDOCTRINATION FOR STATE
POLICE. HERE IS THE RULES THAT APD HAS
TO ABIDE BY, YOU HAVE JURISDICTION IN APD’S AREAS
AND YOU HAVE TO ABIDE BY THESE RULES. THAT COORDINATION DIDN’T TAKE
PLACE. TO COUNTER SERGE, I THINK THIS
IS A GREAT MOVE. WE HAVE 50 OFFICERS, THEY HAVE
BEEN MAKING SOME REALLY MEASURABLE IMPACT. 257 PEOPLE ARRESTED, SEVERAL
DOZEN FELONY ARRESTS, 13 DWI’S, RECOVERED 24 STOLEN
VEHICLES.>>NOT A SMALL THING.>>IT IS NOT. YOU KNOW, WE DON’T KNOW WHAT
APD HAS BEEN DOING DURING THAT PERIOD WHICH IS PROBABLY A LOT
MORE IN ADDITION TO THAT. BUT, IT IS SOMETHING THAT
CREATES THAT SENSE OF SAFETY. AND I THINK THAT IS WHAT WE
ARE LACKING IN ALBUQUERQUE RIGHT NOW IS THAT SENSE THAT
WE ARE SAFE.>>INTERESTING POINT. WE TOOK EXTRA TIME ON THAT
FIRST TOPIC BECAUSE IT IS SO CONTROVERSIAL. PLENTY MORE TO COME. AFTER THE BREAK I SIT DOWN
WITH SPACEPORT AMERICA’S DAN HICKS.

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