Pretrial Detention Bill Passes First House Committee
A bill to make it harder for a defendant accused of a violent crime to get out on bail has cleared its first hurdle in the State House.
The Pretrial Release Conditions Bill would create what’s called a “rebuttable presumption against pretrial release” for defendants accused of violent crimes like first degree murder, child trafficking, abuse and sexual exploitation and those with a previous record of violent crime.
Bernalillo County Deputy District Attorney James Grayson says the bill will hold up to Constitutional scrutiny and similar bills nationwide have already done so.
“What happens with this rebuttable presumption is that the fact that there is probable cause that the individual committed the listed offenses means there is sufficient proof to establish that the individual is dangerous and the conditions of release cannot protect the community, but it doesn't bind the judge,” he said.
The bill passed on a 7-2 bipartisan vote. Representatives Gail Chasey (D-18, Albuquerque) and Daymon Eli (D-23, Corallas) were the dissenting members.
Chasey says she wants to see more attention to preventative measures of crime.
“I worry about spending more money at the wrong end of the system. Not that I don’t want dangerous people incarcerated, I do,” she said. “I do not support the bill as written and yet I would like to try and help solve the problem.”
Republicans Greg Nibert (R-59, Roswell) and Bill Rehm (31-Albuquerque) voted for the bill, but don’t believe it will be upheld by the New Mexico Supreme Court. They both say a Constitutional Amendment should be put before the voters.
The pretrial bill now heads to the House Judiciary Committee.