The two Democratic candidates for district attorney faced off in a forum in Albuquerque on Thursday night.
Raúl Torrez, who has worked as a prosecutor at the federal and state levels, and Edmund Perea, a retired Albuquerque police officer and a special prosecutor in the 13th Judicial District, are vying to replace DA Kari Brandenburg, who has been Bernalillo County’s top prosecutor for more than 15 years.
They fielded questions on how they approach organizing prosecutions and other legal matters.
They took different positions when asked about the governor’s plans to assign representatives to track drunken driving cases, monitor outcomes and post on social media results that appear lenient.
Perea said that was almost like a form of community policing.
“Victims of drunken drivers want to be part of the process,” he said.
Torrez said it would politicize the legal process, and said he would rather meet and discuss legal strategies with advocates against drunken driving instead of having them spread opinions on particular cases.
Both candidates said they would restructure the District Attorney’s Office.
Torrez said he would create a major crimes unit, which, in some cases, would assign senior prosecutors to particular defendants with a lengthy and serious criminal history.
Perea said he would give prosecutors more control of individual cases from indictment through final judgement.
Both candidates said they were in favor of criminal justice reform that emphasizes crime prevention and treatment for drug addiction instead of incarceration.
The primary election is June 7.
Simon Kubiak is the lone Republican candidate.