Judge dismisses federal lawsuit over new bond rules - Albuquerque Journal

Judge dismisses federal lawsuit over new bond rules

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

A U.S. district judge has thrown out the federal class-action lawsuit against the state Supreme Court and its judges over rules affecting pretrial detention, finding that the claims raised are without merit.

“Criminal defendants have never been guaranteed the option of monetary bail under New Mexico law in existence before or after the 2017 rules,” U.S. District Judge Robert A. Junell wrote in his 42-page ruling issued Monday.

The lawsuit was filed in July by the Bail Bond Association of New Mexico, a handful of Democratic and Republican state lawmakers and a woman who spent five days at the Metropolitan Detention Center. The plaintiffs had sought an injunction to prevent courts from using the new Supreme Court rules, arguing that those rules are unconstitutional because “the availability of bail is enshrined in the Bill of Rights.”

Among the defendants named in the lawsuit were New Mexico’s Supreme Court justices, the chief judges of the 2nd Judicial District Court and Metropolitan Court and the Bernalillo County Commission.

The Supreme Court issued the rules after voters in November 2016 supported a constitutional amendment that said people could be held in jail without bail until their trial if they are found to be a danger to the community. It also said inmates who are not a risk could be released from custody even if they couldn’t afford a monetary bond. The rules went into effect in July.

The bond association said the rules have decimated its profession, as most defendants are being released from custody as soon as they appear before a judge without having to post a bond.

Barry Massey, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the Courts, said he was aware of the federal court ruling but could not comment late Monday. In a court filing in August, the Supreme Court and other defendants called the lawsuit a desperate move by the bail bonding industry to regain control over pretrial release practices.

The president of the New Mexico Bail Bonds Association expressed dismay at Monday’s ruling.

“I’m disappointed, of course,” said Gerald Madrid. “It didn’t appear we were close on any of our issues.”

Madrid said he’d be meeting with Blair Dunn, the attorney for the bail bonds association, today to discuss options. “It’s just crushing. … It’s overwhelming for the (bond) industry,” he said. “I don’t see anything that’s positive that’s come of these changes to court rules.”

In his ruling, Judge Junell granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit and denied plaintiffs’ motion to amend their complaint, determining that all the federal claims they wanted to add would be futile. He also found that the Bail Bond Association of New Mexico and individual state lawmakers lack standing to bring the suit, although he did find that Darlene Collins – the plaintiff in the lawsuit who spent about five days in jail in July – did have standing to file the lawsuit.

Junell then went through an exhaustive analysis of the claims raised in the lawsuit and why they cannot move forward.

“In the present case, the fact that Collins was released on her own recognizance with minimal conditions does not shock the Court’s conscience, nor does the absence of a monetary bail option in lieu of, or in addition to, any potential restrictions that are aimed at deterring dangerousness,” Junell wrote. “Moreover, Collins failed to challenge any nonmonetary conditions of release when she had the opportunity to do so at her pretrial detention hearing. Either way, Plaintiffs present no grounds for finding that a criminal defendant’s option to obtain monetary bail is a fundamental right or implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”


Home » News » Crime » Judge dismisses federal lawsuit over new bond rules

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Albuquerque police, DEA seize guns, drugs in operation
ABQnews Seeker
Authorities seized large quantities of fentanyl, ... Authorities seized large quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine and guns on Tuesday after busting an Albuquerque-based drug ring with alleged ties to a Mexican cartel.
'Jesús Muñoz Flamenco: En Cabaret' being staged throughout June
ABQnews Seeker
"Jesús Muñoz Flamenco: En Cabaret" is ... "Jesús Muñoz Flamenco: En Cabaret" is being staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, and at 2 p.m. June 11.
Summerfest, Mustangs, movies and more: 7 events for this ...
ABQnews Seeker
In 1964, the Ford Motor Company ... In 1964, the Ford Motor Company began production of its Mustang and an American icon was born. If you’re a fan of this classic car, ...
Former Ruidoso officer convicted of soliciting a minor
ABQnews Seeker
Prosecutors said a former Ruidoso police ... Prosecutors said a former Ruidoso police officer Wednesday was convicted of two felonies after requesting sexual pictures and videos from a federal agent posing ...
Homegrown Albuquerque company Karoo Health launches digital platform for ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque-based startup Karoo Health will deploy ... Albuquerque-based startup Karoo Health will deploy a new digital platform this summer for real-time management of cardiovascular health care, backed by $3.4 million in ...
Jerry Pacheco: Title 42 ironies abound; better laws needed
ABQnews Seeker
Title 42, the health policy that ... Title 42, the health policy that allowed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to quickly expel migrants who illegally entered the U.S. seeking amnesty, ...
Albuquerque police looking for car involved in Downtown homicide
ABQnews Seeker
The Albuquerque Police Department is asking ... The Albuquerque Police Department is asking the public's help in finding a car believed to have been involved in a homicide in Downtown late ...
The stage is set: ‘La Traviata’ to kick off ...
ABQnews Seeker
New productions of 'Don Giovanni,' 'La ... New productions of 'Don Giovanni,' 'La Traviata' and 'Der Rosenkavalier,' and a revival of 'The Elixir of Love,' cap a 2024 Santa Fe Opera ...
Job Talk: 'I'm done': Finding a new career without ...
ABQnews Seeker
Dear J.T. & Dale: I no ... Dear J.T. & Dale: I no longer want to be a nurse. I tried to stick it out after the pandemic, but I'm done.