Did strict court deadline, aimed to fix jail overcrowding, backfire?

Original Story:  http://krqe.com/2015/12/01/did-strict-court-deadline-aimed-to-fix-jail-overcrowding-backfire/

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Again and again, criminals are catching big breaks that put them back on the streets. Now, the state Supreme Court is hearing new suggestions on how to keep them behinds bars.

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg, as well as Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden have spoken out about this problem. Now, state legislators are chiming in too, calling on the Supreme Court to make a major change.

From accused repeat car thieves, to murder suspects like Davon Lymon, accused of killing APD Officer Daniel Webster in October, all too often police say, criminals can catch big breaks before they face real prison time.

“It’s really a matter of public safety,” explained Republican Representative David Adkins of Albuquerque.

For that reason, Adkins, along with 15 other republican legislators, are chiming in on the issue.

In a letter to the New Mexico Supreme Court, they’re asking to amend a case management rule, “to allow prosecution 60 days to provide discovery to the defendant and double the time cases may be brought to trial.”

“This is really about just protecting the citizens of Albuquerque and allowing the Albuquerque Police Department and the prosecutors to have enough time to do their job,” said Adkins.

It’s an issue both the District Attorney, and APD Chief are also speaking up about.

The Case Management Order, or ‘CMO,’ was mandated by the state Supreme Court in February to speed up cases and address jail overcrowding.

The District Attorney said a mandatory 10 day turnaround for investigators to turn in case evidence has resulted in case dismissals.

In his letter to the New Mexico Supreme Court, APD Chief Gorden Eden said it’s often “difficult or impossible to meet CMO deadlines.”

He points out the investigations of Officer Webster’s death  and four-year-old Lilly Garcia’s were handled at the same time.

Eden asks that serious and violent felony cases be exempt from current strict court deadlines.

As an example of complex case loads his department faces, Eden said in Webster’s case alone, “APD created over 130 separate officer narratives, and the case developed from an attempted murder to a murder case prior to arraignment.”

“While officers were mourning with Officer Webster’s family, court deadlines had no mercy.”

When asked about the issue of jail overcrowding, Adkins responded, “That may be a consequence, but it would be better than having some of the dangerous criminals that have been released because of this, out on the streets.”

In a statement Tuesday, District Attorney, Kari Brandenburg pointed out this weekend’s crash which killed three people. Her office has just ten days to get APD’s investigation into the accused drunk driver, then present it to a grand jury.