The judiciary implements 24/7 alert system procedures for defendants with electronic surveillance devices
SANTA FE – The New Mexico judiciary today announced a plan to monitor a 24-hour alert system for felony defendants wearing a GPS device that tracks their location while awaiting trial in the Bernalillo County.
“This enhancement supports public safety by helping courts and law enforcement respond quickly to 24/7 alerts when an electronic monitor indicates that defendants have violated restrictions imposed by the courts. in their travels in the community, ”said Chief Justice Michael Vigil.
Newly hired pre-trial staff at the Courts Administration Office (AOC) will oversee the alert system during the workweek at night (after 5 p.m. until 8 a.m.), weekends and holidays. The Second Judicial District Court and the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court will continue to conduct surveillance during regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
When a “high alert” is received, supervisory personnel:
· Investigate immediately, including calling the accused to determine if the conditions for the person’s interim release have been violated.
· Request an arrest warrant for the arrest of the defendant when there is an apparent violation of the restrictions imposed by the court. District and metro court appeal judges will be available to issue arrest warrants after normal business hours.
· Email arrest warrants to law enforcement, the district attorney’s office and the defendant’s attorney.
· Call the victim of the crime and request a welfare check from law enforcement, if applicable.
· Provide law enforcement with the last known GPS coordinates of the defendant when an arrest warrant has been issued and the information is requested.
High alerts include when an accused leaves a restricted area, such as a house arrest address or processing center; goes to a prohibited area, known as the “exclusion zone”; violates a one-hour curfew; and when the GPS monitor has been tampered with, removed, or the battery fails.
Some alerts can be easily corrected, for example if an accused crosses an “exclusion zone” while traveling for emergency medical assistance.
A Bernalillo County contractor operates the system, which sends alerts to court remediation services programs about possible location violations by defendants with GPS devices. Out-of-hours monitoring of the alert system by AOC employees and new 24/7 procedures to respond to such alerts will begin in October.
The judiciary will seek funding during the 2022 legislative session to continue the program. The AOC has implemented after-hours monitoring of the alert system with funds allocated by the legislature to expand and improve state-wide pre-emptive services.
When a person is charged with a crime – while presumed innocent under the law – judges determine the conditions that individuals must comply with until the charge is resolved through a trial, a plea or dismissal of the case. By protecting the liberty interests of all individuals, including those accused of a crime, federal and state constitutions promote the release of individuals awaiting trial, except in limited circumstances.
“The courts are committed to working with partners in the justice system to promote the safety of our communities by improving pre-trial practices while upholding constitutional principles that protect all Americans,” said Artie Pepin, director of the AOC.
“We thank the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office for cooperating in our efforts to provide them with immediate notice of an arrest warrant issued for a GPS violation on high alert at any time. time of day or night. We also appreciate the support of the district attorney and district public defender will also receive immediate notice of high alert arrest warrants, “Pepin said.