Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
The state’s Criminal Defense Lawyers Association is commending a district court plan to reduce grand jury availability, calling it a step toward meaningful criminal justice reform.
The association weighed in Tuesday amid an ongoing tug of war in the 2nd Judicial District about how felony cases should be launched.
Most cases are initiated either when a grand jury signs off on an indictment or a judge finds probable cause to support formal charges at a preliminary hearing. And the court is gradually shifting away from Bernalillo County’s indictment-heavy system. That means prosecutors will have to start an increasing number of cases using preliminary hearings, which can take place in either district or Metropolitan Court.