For the simplest cases, trials have to start in seven months, an extra 30 days over the original rule. For the most complex cases, trials must begin within 15 months, a 90-day extension over the original deadline
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
The New Mexico Supreme Court said Wednesday that it will give more time to prosecutors and cops in Bernalillo County to bring felony cases to trial and to provide evidence to defense attorneys.
The court also said that it has revised its case management order for the Second Judicial District to make it more difficult for judges to dismiss cases when prosecutors are delayed in turning over evidence.
The changes will take effect Feb. 2 and affect felony cases only in Bernalillo County.
Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said Wednesday that she would need at least a day to review the changes before commenting on them.
The changes include giving prosecutors an additional 30 to 90 days to get cases to trial, depending on their complexity. For the simplest cases, trials have to start in seven months, an extra 30 days over the original rule. For the most complex cases, trials must begin within 15 months, a 90-day extension over the original deadline.
The revisions will also make it harder for judges to dismiss cases for failure to meet deadlines under the rule. A case can’t be dismissed if a prosecutor shows by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is a danger to the community or the failure to comply with the rule was caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond control of the parties, the court said in a news release announcing the changes. And, the justices extended the deadline for a defendant’s arraignment, depending on how charges are brought in a case.
The original CMO took effect last February, and Brandenburg has complained that it was unworkable and that judges have dismissed hundreds of cases because APD and her lawyers couldn’t meet the stringent deadlines.
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