ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Too many cases, and not enough time or people to get them through the system.
“Detectives right now are swamped with cases,” said Officer Simon Drobik with the Albuquerque Police Department. “We’ve been asking for help,” he said.
He said prosecuting criminal cases through District Court is an uphill battle. Case after case, getting dismissed because of deadlines.
“Right now, if they get somebody in custody, in 10 days they have to have the whole case completed, which is virtually impossible,” said Drobik.
Tuesday, the state Supreme Court just provided some relief. It released a list of changes to the so-called Case Management Order — the rules created just for Bernalillo County a couple of years ago to attack the backlog of criminal cases and keep suspected criminals from sitting in jail for months and months while awaiting trial.
At the top of the list is five extra days to hand over evidence to the defense.
“With the workload they have, and all the work they had prior to catching more cases… an extra five days is going to help immensly,” said Drobik.
The changes also include more time for cases to go to trial, and expediting trials for suspects that can’t get out of jail.
“As time has gone on, the state prosecutors has have complained that the time deadlines are too tight for them, that it’s causing too many dismissals,” explained criminal defense attorney Robert Lohbeck of Lawyers 505.
He said he isn’t too worried about these changes, calling them tweaks.
“It would be different if they were being given two more months time, you know because a lot of folks are stuck in jail,” he said.
Tuesday, District Attorney Raul Torrez released the following statement regarding the changes:
While the recently adopted amendments to the CMO should help alleviate some of the day-to-day challenges faced by Bernalillo County prosecutors, they do not represent the kind of comprehensive change we were hoping for. Bernalillo County remains the only community in the state subject to the CMO and, as yet, no additional money has been appropriated to meet the compressed timelines associated with its implementation. I will continue to advocate for additional resources – both for my office and our law enforcement partners – so that we can comply with these extraordinary obligations and meet the challenge of rising crime in this community.