Rio Grande Foundation: Let facts, data drive bail discussion

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Today, in the second meeting of the New Mexico Criminal Justice Reform Subcommittee of the Courts, Corrections, and Justice Committee, the Rio Grande Foundation testified in support of replacing pure money bail with a system focused on risk. The Foundation’s testimony included statistics from other states that showed states that had implemented the new system saw lower crime and violent crime rates to reduced failure to appear rates.

Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation: “The data we’ve cited shows risk assessment tools are far superior to a system predicated entirely on money. Jurisdictions that have implemented a risk assessment tool in lieu of a pure money bail system saw better public safety outcomes, and saved significant taxpayer dollars. Given the serious crime problems here in New Mexico, the New Mexico voters’ strong support for changes in our bail system, it is more important than ever that we support data-driven solutions, and put asunder false claims that could return us to old mechanisms that clearly haven’t provided the people of New Mexico with the public safety results they deserve.”


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One Reply to “Rio Grande Foundation: Let facts, data drive bail discussion”

  1. The disaster that is bail reform in NM, lies directly at the doorstep of the state Supreme Court and its 4 Democrat Justices. Several years ago, after the murder of the Rio Rancho police officer by a felon out on bail, there was a public outcry to change our bail system so that it would be more like the federal bail system. That is, the danger that the arrestee was to the community if released would be a factor in denying bail. This simple concept has been totally corrupted by the new NM Supreme Court bail rules.Here is the text of our state constitution after the recent constitutional amendment regarding bail:

    Text of Section 13:
    Bail; Excessive Fines; Cruel and Unusual Punishment

    All persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great and in situations in which bail is specifically prohibited by this section. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.

    Bail may be denied by a court of record pending trial for a defendant charged with a felony if the prosecuting authority requests a hearing and proves by clear and convincing evidence that no release conditions will reasonably protect the safety of any other person or the community. An appeal from an order denying bail shall be given preference over all other matters.

    A person who is not a danger detainable on grounds of dangerousness nor a flight risk in the absence of bond and is otherwise eligible for bail shall not be detained solely because of financial inability to post a money or property bond. A defendant who is neither a danger nor a flight risk and who has a financial inability to post a money or property bond may file a motion with the court requesting relief from the requirement to post bond. The court shall rule on the motion in an expedited manner.[1]

    Amended on November 4, 1980.
    Amended on November 8, 1988.
    Amended on November 8, 2016, via voter approval of Constitutional Amendment 1.

    The Metro Court Chief Judge sent a letter directly to the NM Supreme Court stating why he believes the new bail rules promulgated by them are unworkable.

    The last time that the NM Supreme Court had a Republican majority was in the 1920’s. The fiasco of the new bail rules is the result liberal justices worried more about the rights of arrested people than the safety of the community. My personal recommendation is that we should start demonstrating, peacefully, in front of the state Supreme Court building in Santa Fe to show the court our GREAT displeasure.

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