State high court answers question over pre-trial witnesses

Jan 12, 2018

The New Mexico Supreme Court says prosecutors are not obligated to present live witness testimony at pretrial detention hearings. The ruling Thursday settles a question that had emerged among some prosecutors after voters approved a 2016 constitutional amendment to ensure dangerous or high-risk defendants awaiting trial remain incarcerated, and nonviolent suspects unable to afford bail are let go. Some prosecutors further complained that, in addition to being unclear, bail and pre-trial detention rules that justice crafted after the voters' decision haven't worked as intended. The Supreme Court delivered its ruling in response to a filing in which the Bernalillo County district attorney sought guidance on pre-trial evidence requirements in two separate cases — one involving a man who had been suspected in dozens of armed robberies and another involving a man charged with attempted murder.