ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The 2nd Judicial District Attorney has scheduled workshops for next month to iron out specific changes he wants to make to a case management order, or CMO, which set deadlines for criminal cases throughout Bernalillo County.
District Attorney Raúl Torrez said the deadlines have contributed to an increase in crime in the Albuquerque area because thousands of cases were dismissed either voluntarily by prosecutors or by judges in recent years because the deadlines couldn’t be met. Torrez said in a letter to court officials that he will host workshops to discuss proposed changes to the CMO on July 6 and July 10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The workshops, at the District Attorney’s Office, are open to the public.
The case management order went into effect in February 2015 and aimed to address several problems with the local criminal justice system, which included that the county jail was packed with pretrial detainees and there were significant speedy trial issues, New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Charles Daniels said in a recent letter to Torrez.
Torrez’s proposed changes to the CMO include giving judges more discretion over what the remedy should be if prosecutors miss a deadline and establishing rules to prevent prosecutors from being burdened when problems arise that are outside their hands, such as when a jailed inmate isn’t transported to court for a hearing.
Torrez has submitted his proposed changes to the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which will consider them and then possibly make a suggestion to the state Supreme Court, which will decide if and what changes should be made to the rules.
The BCCJCC is comprised of prosecutors, defense attorneys, local judges, city and county officials, law enforcement officials and others who work in the local criminal justice system.
Torrez also suggested that his office, instead of the state court, host future BCCJCC meetings instead of the state district courthouse, which has stricter rules for bringing in cameras and recording devices.