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Bondsmen Say Too Many Criminals Get Out Of Jail Free

Wikimedia Commons via CC

The New Mexico attorney general had some sharp words late last week about a lawsuit filed by bail bondsmen. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the AG’s Office called it  “patently meritless” and “desperate.” 

Voters changed the state’s constitution last year so judges can choose whether to set bail or release nonviolent offenders without it. The Bail Bond Association of New Mexico filed a challenge to the new rules in federal court.

Association President Gerald Madrid said judges in Bernalillo County are releasing too many people without requiring bail. "As long as those that are committing the crimes are given a free pass every time they go to jail, it’s not a problem for them," he said. "They might be off the street for 24 hours, maybe 48 hours, but they’re right back out and at it again."

Madrid said he’s concerned both as a resident who cares about public safety and as a businessman whose industry is under attack by the government.

People who support the new rules say defendants charged with minor offenses shouldn’t have to wait in jail for weeks before their trial because they can’t afford bail, and that the bondsmen are just protecting their own financial interests.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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