Let’s get the record straight, completely straight, on the catch-and-release crime wave wrecking our state once and for all.
Our judicial system is responsible for the tragedy of the loss of UNM baseball player Jackson Weller and many others. However, blaming our District Court judges or Metro Court judges who are required to follow the law but, more importantly, do as they are told by the New Mexico Supreme Court by the rules it has set, is misplaced. The loss of Jackson Weller was not Judge (Richard) Brown’s fault; he virtually no longer has the discretion after the rules adopted by the Supreme Court’s legislating from the bench in 2017.
This isn’t the constitutional amendment’s creation, nor is it the Metro or District Court judges failing to do their job; it was the New Mexico Supreme Court’s rules, plain and simple. This was largely former Justice Charles Daniels – there is a reason we refer to it as the Daniels’ rule – but it was also former Justice Ed Chavez, former Justice Petra Maes, Chief Justice Judy Nakamura, and Justice Barbara Vigil’s doing. Culpability lays squarely at their feet, not Judge Brown following the rules as he is ordered he “shall” do.
People should remember this when we go to elect at least two Supreme Court Justices in 2020. Newly appointed Justice Shannon Bacon and Justice David Thomson will be up for election, and it should be determined by the voters if these justices will support the continued use of the rules that are responsible for this young man’s death and the horrible crime wave sweeping our city. This has to change. So the question needing to be answered is this: “Is the public going to wake up and elect justices that will actually follow the laws and respect the Constitutional rights of New Mexico’s citizens or continue with the same?”
I stood up to these justices to tell them that they were wrong to legislate from the bench contrary to due process and our citizens’ constitutional rights; for my trouble I was sanctioned $15,000 at the request of the Supreme Court – with the help (of) our reelected attorney general that supports this unconstitutional action – for daring to sue even when it is wrong.
We are barking up the wrong trees to blame anybody but the Supreme Court for this young man’s death or the broken system; judges are told by the rules that they “shall” release a person accused of a crime on their own recognizance unless the very high standard of “no set of non-monetary conditions” will ensure that person returns to court. On one hand, the public was told the 2016 constitutional amendment would help district attorneys keep dangerous people locked up before trial, and then, on the other, the Supreme Court let one justice’s vendetta against the bail industry skew the rules so far out of whack that judges are forced to let men like (Weller murder suspect Darian) Bashir walk free repeatedly with nothing more than a promise to behave while they wait for a trial that they will never attend. It’s time for a change, New Mexico; how many more promising young people have to die before you will hold elected officials, which includes justices of the Supreme Court, accountable for the harm that they do with their pet agendas – like former Justice Daniels and liberal bail reform?