Santa Fe – In a Saturday Morning hearing, House Democrats voted against House Bill 480 (HB 480) which would have changed the law on pretrial detention hearings. Across New Mexico, law enforcement officials and prosecutors have asked for a change in the rules to help ensure dangerous and repeat offenders remain in custody in order to protect our communities. Despite bipartisan support from New Mexico District Attorney’s Association, House Democrats voted along party lines to keep the current faulty rules in place.
“We simply want repeat and violent offenders off the streets, but apparently that is too much to ask,” said Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque). “All over our state we continue to see the disastrous consequences of allowing criminals to continue to terrorize our communities and it’s a shame some don’t want to stop it.”
During the hearing, supporters of HB 480 pointed to a case out of Questa where a man was arrested three times for child sexual assault charges. According to news reports, the suspect was first arrested on January 14 for sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl, but was released the next day. Two days later, he is charged again in the rape of a 19 month old child and is released again. On the same day of his release, the suspect is again charged with raping a 5 year old girl.
“We had a chance to close New Mexico’s revolving door, yet it wasn’t done,” Rep. Gregg Schmedes (R-Tijeras.) “We even worked to limit the bill to only those accused of murder and rape, yet House Democrats want to keep the revolving door moving.”