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Justices should keep suspect in 80-plus burglaries behind bars

Many of us still can’t sleep at night here in Albuquerque, and the New Mexico Supreme Court can change this – if the justices act now.

This winter, in the dead of night, Jesse Mascareno-Haidle and his “crew” (are suspected of breaking into up to) 80 of our homes while we, our children and our family members were sleeping. For some of us, it wasn’t until we woke up the next morning, with panicked animals frantically searching the floors of our homes for strange smells, before we realized the cold air blowing into our living rooms was coming from newly cracked-open back doors and ajar windows. Many of us quickly realized our cars and so many other valuables had disappeared. My daughter’s favorite skateboard, a wife’s irreplaceable 17th century violin she played at their wedding, guns, silencers, hospital badges, computers, Air Jordan sneakers, and even food. But the most significant theft was the feeling of safety and security in our homes.

Even after months have passed, many of us still triple-check our windows and doors each night, re-engage our newly installed security systems and ensure our loved ones are safely tucked in bed. Meanwhile, a problem with our state’s pretrial detention laws allows a someone who, according to court records, has confessed to many of these crimes and knows no other way of life to be out in the community, able to commit more crimes.

This is due to vague language in our current statutes for pretrial detention standards. The law’s language does not provide adequate guidelines for judges to make any other determination than to let people (accused of numerous burglaries) walk freely amongst us in the community until trial. As citizens, we read intent of the law to be to let nonviolent offenders to be released until their trial, but clearly, that is not what is happening here.

We were all very lucky to not have been physically harmed in the process of a potentially heavily armed burglary crew breaking into our homes and into our lives. Unfortunately, with allegedly over 80 homes already broken into from every corner of the city – Sandia Heights, the West Side and down to Los Lunas – it is only a matter of time before a homeowner is badly hurt or killed. According to court records, Mascareno-Haidle’s father is currently in prison. If Mascareno-Haidle is detained until his trial, then he and everyone in our community would be safer.

To be clear … many defendants have fallen through this current crack in the law. Many violent offenders are out walking our streets today due to this flawed language, despite the clear threat to the public that they pose.

We need the New Mexico Supreme Court to quickly schedule a hearing and to order that Mascareno-Haidle be remanded to jail until trial. We will all sleep better at night knowing he won’t be able break into our homes to find food to eat, guns to steal, or drive away in our cars.

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