When Bonds Fail

Published August 5, 2015 | By admin

Bail bonds failure can have dangerous consequences that often go unnoticed until it’s too late. I recently wrote an article about these consequences which was featured in The Albuquerque Journal .

When Bonds Fail
By Gerald Madrid / President, N.M. Bail Bond Association
PUBLISHED: Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 12:02 am

The story of Steven Trujillo, a career criminal being released to pretrial services is nothing new.

Every day in every court in New Mexico there are defendants being released to pretrial services all because of our Supreme Court.

The court is pressuring our judges to release defendants on what they call the least restrictive means, with absolutely no assurance that a defendant will appear in court.

Not even the ankle bracelet or the GPS tracking that the court speaks so highly of is doing the job.

Releasing a defendant on an unsecured bond or his own recognizance means exactly that, an unsecured bond.

So, why is this happening?

Much of it started November of last year with the Supreme Court opinion on Walter Brown v. the state of New Mexico.

The court was upset that Walter Brown, who was accused of a murder, had been in custody for over two years and had not had his day in court.

Since that ruling, the floodgates have been open in New Mexico courts, and everything from shoplifting to murder qualifies one for a release on an unsecured bond or a release to pretrial services.

The Journal’s editorial on July 19, “Ankle bracelet only works if defendant wants it to,” speaks of the dilemma our judges face because of our state Constitution that guarantees bail in all cases except first-degree murder.

Bail itself is not the problem.

It’s when a judge sets an unsecured bond or gives a release on own recognizance, thus requiring nothing from a defendant but his promise to appear in court.

Even knowing that a person has a very extensive criminal history, these type of bonds are still being issued.

Our courts and government think that giving out free and unsecured bonds is the answer. The unsecured bond takes away the incentive for a defendant to show up and actually promotes lawlessness.

Case in point, Andrew Romero, the accused cop killer, was out on his own recognizance when he did what he is alleged to have done.

Furthermore, just watch the evening news and you will see more and more violent crime being committed – and it’s oftentimes by those with lengthy criminal histories.

So back to the Steven Trujillo story.

He repeatedly begged the judge to release him until she finally did.

He promised to wear the GPS monitor.

He promised to stay sober.

He promised to obey a curfew.

And he promised to report to pretrial services.

In the end, he did none of that and now two people are dead.

Who should be held responsible for this mess? “And this man qualified for pretrial services?”