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Metro Beat: Retired judge to join criminal justice council

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A council working to reform the local criminal justice system has turned to a retired district judge to help set its course.

Bernalillo County recently inked a consulting contract with former judge Nan Nash to work with the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. The parties signed the one-year contract in April.

Nash, who retired in December as chief judge of the 2nd Judicial District Court, is helping the council develop a strategic plan outlining which priorities it should tackle.

Nash was previously a voting member as district court’s chief judge and said the council has been a productive force, connecting players within the criminal justice system so they understand others’ work and challenges and can collaborate on solutions.

But the council, she said, is so active that it has not found the time to stop and develop long-term plans.

“We have been so busy with all these other issues that we’ve always had issues both directly on the plate and right behind the plate wanting to be moved forward,” she said.

The council’s membership comes from across the criminal justice community. It includes representatives from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, Albuquerque Police Department, metropolitan and state courts, district attorney’s office, public defender’s office and more.

Nash said there are a number of areas where the council could decide to focus its energy, and present ideas that could include everything from more robust jail diversion programs to improving the processing of domestic violence cases. Nash said she aims to have a strategic plan solidified by August.

Under the contract, she gets $150 per hour up to $58,300.

POTENTIAL PAYBACK: As we reported in last week’s story on NBCUniversal’s plan to create a new Albuquerque film and TV studio in collaboration with locally owned Garcia Realty and Development, there are so-called “clawbacks” tied to the city and state’s combined $10.7 million contribution to the project.

The media company would have to pay back all of the public money it received should it cease operations before the halfway point of the 10-year agreement, or pay back a portion of the money if it quit in the second half, according to the agreement going before City Council tonight.

And if NBCUniversal fails to meet “performance” spending targets, it would incur financial penalties based on how far behind it is and how much public money it had received.

An example provided in the agreement: If, after five years, associated spending only reaches $200 million of the $250 million expected, the company would have to pay back $535,000 of the $5.35 million in public money it had taken in at that point.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Don’t forget: Among other things, the highly skilled local film professionals buy our cars and trucks,” Ed Garcia said last week during a news conference announcing his family’s partnership with NBCUniversal to build a new Albuquerque studio to host film productions. Garcia’s family is known predominantly for its local automotive dealerships.

Jessica Dyer: