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NM Supreme Court hears arguments on bond rules

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Supreme Court is expected to convene later this afternoon after hearing arguments throughout the morning Wednesday over holding defendants without bond in Albuquerque.

In one matter, District Attorney Raúl Torrez asked the court to clarify the process that prosecutors should follow in seeking certain defendants be held without bond. He cited two cases — one where a man is accused of robbing nearly 50 Albuquerque businesses over five months and another in which a man has been arrested on suspicion of shooting his ex-girlfriend in the stomach — where the state district court judge refused to hold the defendant without bond and instead set expensive cash-only bonds.

“We are here today because we don’t have rules of the road,” Torrez said.

Torrez asked court to clarify what evidence prosecutors should use in trying to hold certain defendants without bail. In the two cases Torrez cited, the judge had said that in addition to court documents prosecutors needed to call some witnesses, like police investigators, at the detention proceedings.

The other case heard by the state’s highest court on Wednesday was an appeal by a woman who is charged with two counts of felony murder. The woman, Elexus Groves, was held without bond in the case.

Last year, New Mexico voters overwhelming passed a constitutional amendment that allows judges to hold some defendants without bail until their trial. To make such a ruling, prosecutors have to show “clear and convincing” evidence that no conditions of release could protect the public.