Dan Lewis Demands Delay To Go Along With His Power Play Before December 7 Runoff Election; Runoff Will Decide Party Control Of Council; 2025 Mayor’s Race Already In Play

On December 2, incumbents Democrats Lan Sena and Cynthia Borrego lost their reelection bids to Moderate Democrat Louis Sanchez and Republican Dan Lewis respectively. Incumbents Democrat Diane Gibson, District 7 and Republican Don Harris, District 9, decided not to seek another term. The 4 city councilors terms end on December 31 and their successors take office on January 1, 2022.

After the November 2 election, there are 4 Democrats on the new city council:

District 1 Louis Sanchez (Elected on November 2 defeating Lan Sena.)
District 2 Isaac Benton
District 3 Klarissa Peña (Ran unopposed on November 2 .)
District 6 Pat Davis

After the November 2 election, the 3 Republicans on the new city council are:

District 5 Dan Lewis (Newly elected on November 2)
District 4 Brook Bassan
District 8 Trudy Jones

The December 7 runoff elections will decide what party will have control of the city council. It will elect a new City Council President at its first meeting in January who will appoint all committee chairs. The December 7 run off in City Council District 7 is between Democrat Tammy Fiebelkorn running against Republican Lori Robertson. District 7 is the Mid-heights, north of the state fairgrounds, includes Coronado Shopping Center and Uptown and surrounding areas and parts of the near northeast heights. In the District 9 City Council race, Democrat Rob Grilley is running against Republican Renee Grout. District 9 is the far SE district, bounded by Eubank on the west, Menaul on the north, Sandia Moutain foothills open space on the east and KAFB on the south and the Four Hills Country Club area.

The Republican party is making a serious attempt to secure a majority of 5-4 on the City Council, but that will require winning of the District 7 and District 9 city council races in the runoff. On November 10, the Republican Party of New Mexico and the Republican Party of Bernalillo County issued a press release announcing they are joining forces and sharing resources to win the two key runoff elections on December 7 that will decide who will control the city council. Republicans are aggressively canvassing both City Council Districts in a get out the vote effort and raising money for mailers and phone banking.


City Councilor elect Dan Lewis previously served two terms on the City Council from 2009 to 2017. Lewis ran unsuccessfully for Mayor against Tim Keller in 2017. Keller won the 2017 runoff by a decisive landslide by securing 60,219 votes or 62.20% against Dan Lewis who secured 36,594 or 37.8% of the vote.

Lewis told www.PeteDinelli.com after he was elected “you better believe that this mayor will be accountable now” essentially saying he intends to be as disruptive as possible over the next four years. On November 23 New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan also reported that backers of Lewis who have spoken with him said he “will demand accountability” from the administration and shake up the council which they say “has been a joke.” Lewis has said once he becomes City Council President he will end all Zoom meetings started at the beginning of the pandemic and that he intends to aggressively question Keller’s department directors, including APD management and Mayor Keller’s representatives in person.

With a little less than 2 weeks before the December 7 runoff elections, Republicans are saying they are confident they will win the December 7 run off elections and control the city council with early voting favoring the Republican candidates. If that happens Dan Lewis is saying he will be elected the new President of the City Council. Confidential sources are also confirming that Lewis is telling supporters he is running for Mayor in 2025 and intends to do whatever he can to disrupt progressive policies put in place by Democrat Mayor Tim Keller.

Republican political operatives are also saying even if the City Council remains a 5-4 Democratic controlled council, it will be moderate Democratic City Councilor elect Louis Sanchez who will be the swing vote on the council with the most influence. Republicans believe Councilor Louis Sanchez will be more of an ally of Dan Lewis than of his Democratic colleagues on the council. Councilor elect Sanchez defeated progressive Democrat Incumbent Lan Sena who was appointed by Mayor Tim Keller to the city council and she was a reliable progressive vote for Keller.


On November 2, voters approved $140 million in general obligation bonds to pay for a range of other city projects. However, voters also rejected a Gross Receipt Tax Bond (GRT) bond initiative of $50 million for the construction of a new soccer stadium. The $50 million gross receipt tax bond for the new soccer stadium had 35% who voted for it and had 65% who voted against it. City officials are now saying the funding that would have gone toward a new stadium can now be directed toward reducing crime and help address the homeless crisis.

On November 15, a $110 million bond proposal resolution was formally introduced. The resolution is scheduled to be voted on by the full city council at the next city council meeting scheduled for December 6.

The GRT City Council Bond resolution is co-sponsored by Democrat City Councilor Klarissa Peña, District 3, South West Albuquerque, and Republican Councilor Brook Bassan, District 4, North East Albuquerque. It has been reported that City Councilor Bassan consulted with Mayor Tim Keller’s administration to develop the bill and come up with final project list. It is Republican Bassan’s consultation with the Democratic Mayor that has upset Lewis and the New Mexico Republican Trump party. Sound familiar? Republicans who vote for Democratic President Joe Biden’s infra structure plan are being accused of being traitors by Der Führer Trump.

The bonds, backed by the city’s gross receipts tax revenue, are being proposed by the city council and it will not require voter approval. A “super majority” of 7 of votes on the City Council is required. Such authority is given to the city council as is the authority to enact gross receipt tax increases, property taxes and lodger tax allocations.

The Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) General Obligation bonds resolution seeks to borrow $110 million to build a upwards of 16 major infrastructure projects around the city. The project list includes more than $45 million for improving parks, open spaces, recreational facilities, a new multi-generstion center across from Cibola High School. Another $40 million will be dedicated to public safety projects, including updating the Albuquerque Police Department downtown headquarters north of city hall, the APD academy building, and other public safety facilities.

Chief Financial Officer Sanjay Bhakta said the bond debt will take upwards of 20 years to pay off starting at $5.7 million annually and eventually rising to $10 million annually until paid off.

According to the city council resolution, the $110 million GRT bond proposal includes the following projects:

Public housing, including sobering center : $25.6 million
Remodeling of the APD main building: $12.5 million
North Domingo Baca Aquatic Center: $12 million
Cibola Loop Multigenerational Center: $10 million
West Side public safety facility: $10 million
San Mateo/Kathryn public safety center: $7 million
Police department academy: $5 million
City buildings: $5 million
Southeast Area Command second phase: $4.4
Westgate Community Center: $4 million
Loma Linda Community Center: $4 million
Los Altos pump track: $3 million
West Side recreation fields: $3 million
Civic Plaza awning: $2 million
Phil Chacon Park: $1.5 million
Westside Indoor Recreation Complex: $1 million

Mayor Tim Keller voiced support for the bonding plan after his administration worked closely with City Council sponsors Pena and Basaan and said in a statement:

“This investment plan puts $110 million into addressing our city’s most pressing challenges, while continuing to lift up the civic spaces that people will enjoy for generations to come. ”


The $110 million dollar bond resolution is scheduled for a final vote on December 6 which will be the very last meeting of the year for the city council and the day before the city council December 7 runoff. The legislation will be among the final legislative actions for 4 of 9 city councilors.

Republican City Councilor Brook Bassan said the December 6 vote the day before the runoff election is intentional and explained it this way:

“I think right now is a really good time to be able to recognize the continued priorities that were in the council before we have a new turnover of the council, at which point priorities could change.”

Councilor elect and two term former City Councilor Republican Dan Lewis, who defeated current Democrat Council President Cynthia Borrego in the November 2 election said this:

“Four city councilors who would make a decision on this won’t even be here in January. … For that reason alone we need to deal with this with a new council in January.”

Republican city councilor Brook Basaan balked at the suggestion that the council vote be delayed until the new City Council is sworn in and said:

“If that were the case, terms … would end November 3 but they don’t.”

Republican Lewis is predicting that the bond package will lose on December 6 before he joins the city council, likely because he has made contact with conservative Republican City Councilors Trudy Jones and Don Harris to vote no on the bond package while Progressive’s Pat Davis and Isaac Benton are expressing reservations about the vote and a few of the projects still very much in the planning phase. Benton went so far as saying the vote “does not pass the smell test.” The 4 can block the initiative resulting in a a 5-4 vote when it needs a 7-2 vote.

The links to quoted source material are here:




On November 3, the Albuquerque City Council passed a 5 page “memorial” on a unanimous bi partisan 9-0 vote that reestablishes the Albuquerque City Council’s commitment to bringing down the city’s spiking violent crime rates.

City Councilor Elect and former City Councilor Dan was asked to comment about the city council memorial. Lewis condemned it and said fixing our crime issues will all come down to “leadership” and he had this to say:

“We have more money than we’ve ever had before so it’s not about revenue. … It’s about good leadership and making good choices. We need to support our police officers.”


Simply put, it’s never been about the money. It’s not about supporting our police. It has everything to do with holding APD sworn police accountable for failing to do their jobs to keep the city safe and its citizens safe.


Republican operatives are rationalizing that moderate democrat City Councilor Louis Sanchez will identify more with conservative Republicans, has very little in common with progressive democrats who did not support him and that he owes Mayor Tim Keller absolutely nothing.

If the City Council remains a 5-4 Democratic Majority, the biggest test for Democrat City Councilor Louis Sanchez will be if he votes for Republican Dan Lewis to become the new Council President when the council convenes for the first time in January, 2022. Progressive Democratic City Councilor’s Isaac Benton and Pat Davis and moderate Democrat Klarissa Pena will likely all express an interested in becoming City Council President, in which case newly elect City Councilor Louis Sanchez will be casting a vote that will likely set the entire tone for his 4 years on the city council.


It’s down right pathetic that Dan Lewis is already believing he is the next city council president and that he intends to aggressively question Democrat Tim Keller’s department directors, including APD management and Mayor Keller’s representatives in person to hold them “accountable”. Republican Dan Lewis is the same former city councilor and former Council President who for a full 8 years looked the other way and did absolutely nothing to hold Republican Mayor Richard Berry accountable for destroying one of the finest police departments in the country and destroying historic Route 66 with the ART Bus project. Republican Lewis never once broke rank when he voted with fellow Republican Mayor, nver voted to override a Berry veto, and now decides he needs to carry out his petty political revenge on a Democrat Mayor who has been elected twice with a landslide, including 4 years ago against Dan Lewis himslef.

Simply put, Lewis is a hypocrite. Lewis takes issue with outgoing city councilors voting for a $110 million bond package a few weeks before they leave office on January 1, 2022. Lewis did something even worse as he left the city council in 2017. Just a few weeks before leaving the City Council, Lewis voted for the ABC-Z comprehensive plan pushed by Republican Mayor Berry who was know to be the darling of the construction industry and real estate development industry and who made it a top priority before he left office on January 1, 2018. The ABC-Z comprehensive plan repealed a number of historical sector development plans making it far easier for real estate developers. The ABC-Z project rewrite was nothing more than making “gentrification” official city policy and “gutted” long standing sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character for the sake of development. The number of sector development plans went from from 250 to fewer than 20.


The Republican party, state and county, and Albuquerque City Councilor retread extraordinaire are no doubt champing at the bit to make progressive Democrat Mayor Tim Keller life’s miserable during his second term in an effort to end his political career and restart the political career of Dan Lewis. They know full well Keller could run for higher office which will likely be Governor. Dan Lewis is returning to the city council and no matter if the council retains a Democrat majority it will be far more hostile to Keller than in 2017 when Lewis lost to Keller in a landslide. It is now apparent that Dan Lewis will be running for Mayor in 2025 which makes him the “obstructer in chief.”

Should there be a Republican takeover of the Albuquerque City Council, you can expect any number of setbacks of progressive programs and policies promoted by Keller and see advocacy of Republican policies and programs. It is likely Dan Lewis will spear head the following once sworn in for his third term:

1. Repeal of the city’s immigration friendly policy that Republicans falsely label as sanctuary city.
2. Opposition to or perhaps repeal of the city’s minimum wage ordinance.
3. Opposition to any mandatory sick leave ordinances for the private sector.
4. Oppose enforcement by Mayor Keller of emergency health care orders for the Corona Virus Pandemic, including opposing any and all-mask mandates and opposing mandatory covid vaccinations of city employees.
5. Reduction in social service programs to help the homeless and the poor, including a scaling back of the Gateway Homeless shelter operations.
6. Advocacy of late term abortion prohibitions as was placed on the 2013 municipal ballot and which failed then.
7. Opposition to the Department of Justice mandated police reforms.
8. Oppose any and all increases in the gross receipts taxes or property taxes to fund city essential services even when deficits occur.
9. Advocate the reduction in the size of city government and eliminate new departments and programs created by Mayor Keller by denying funding for such Departments as the “Office of Equity and Inclusion” that deals with immigrant relations.
10. Advocacy of increased criminal penalties as part of the city’s legislative package and bail bond reform measures.

Should there be a Republican takeover of the city council, Democrats will have only themselves to blame given that District 7 and 9 have Democrat majorities.

Rittenhouse Acquitted On All Counts; Jury System Works and Verdict Must Be Respected; A Red Flag Of Caution On “Rebuttable Presumption” To Hold Accused Pending Trial

On August 23, 2020, Jacob S. Blake, a 29-year-old black man, was shot and seriously injured by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake was shot in the back 4 times and the side 3 times when Blake opened the driver’s door to his girlfriend’s rented car and began to turn towards a police officer. Blake was carrying a knife and police officer said he believed he was about to be stabbed. The police shooting of Blake was followed by unrest, which included rallies, marches, property damage, arson, and clashes with police.

On August 25 , 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse, then 17 years old, from north suburban Antioch, volunteered to patrol downtown Kenosha amid the turmoil surrounding the shooting of Jacob Blake. Antiock, where Rittenhous lives, is 15.82 miles and a 30-minute drive to Kenosha. Wisconsin where he was driven by his mother. Armed with an AR-15-style rifle, Rittenhouse stationed himself in front of an empty and abandoned building to protect it from vandalism. Rittenhouse professed to be a medic and he had strapped to his waste a medical pack.

Eventually, Rittenhouse was attracted to and ventured into the unfolding protests in the streets caring his AR-15-style rifle. Dominick Black, a friend of Rittenhouse, testified he bought the AR-15 style rifle for Rittenhouse. Black has been charged and faces his own trial for buying the weapon for the then underage Rittenhouse.


On November 20, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse was released from jail after his attorneys posted $2 million bail, setting the teenager free as he awaited trial for fatally shooting two men and wounding a third during the summer protests in Kenosha. The 17-year-old’s release was funded by donations sought by his attorneys, who appealed to the political right and gun rights advocates.


According to the charges filed and news accounts, Kyle Rittenhouse shot 3 people. All 3 of the shootings were captured on video that was played to the jury. The three shot and the circumstance were:


Rosenbaum was the first person fatally shot by Rittenhouse. He claimed Rosenbaum chased him and grabbed his firearm before Rittenhouse shot him 4 times in the chest even though Rosenbaum never physically touched Rittenhouse. Rosenbaum was reportedly homeless, struggled with bipolar disorder and just that day had been released from a hospital after attempting suicide. Report said he spent years in prison for sexual contact with a minor.


Huber was shot in the chest by Rittenhouse. Born in Kenosha, he died four days after his birthday according to his published obituary. Rittenhouse claims Huber had kicked him in the face and struck him in the head with a skateboard. Rittenhouse testified he shot Huber as he tried to reach for his weapon. Rittenhouse testified that prior to shooting Huber, he tripped and fell to the ground. Video shows him sitting down on the street, at which point Huber tried to take his gun before Rittenhouse shot and killed him.


Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, was the sole survivor of the shootings. Moments after Huber was killed, Rittenhouse shot Grosskreutz in the arm. Grosskreutz says he lost 90% of his bicep with graphic bloody photos of the injury shown to the jury. At trial, he admitted that he thought he was going to die. Rittenhouse said he reacted to seeing Grosskreutz handgun, which Grosskreutz explained to the court that he pulled out because he thought Rittenhouse was an active shooter.



There were 5 charges filed against Kyle Rittenhouse and they were:

Count 1: First-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 2: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 3: First-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 4: Attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 5: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon

If convicted, Rittenhouse was facing a sentence of life in prison if found guilty on first-degree intentional homicide and the other charges each carried over 60 years behind bars.

A sixth count, possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, was dismissed by the judge before closing arguments.



The actions and rulings of trial Judge Bruce Schroeder were called into question. Judge Schroeder is the longest serving Judge in the State of Wisconsin know to preside over his courtroom with a heavy hand.. Under the Code of Judicial Conduct, Judges are required to be “fair and impartial.”.

Presiding trial Judge Bruce Schroeder made rulings and did any number of things that could easily make a person believe that he had a bias against the prosecution and favored the Defendant including:

1. Judge Bruce Schroeder did not allow prosecutors to refer to those killed as “victims” of the shooting but said they could be referred to as “rioters”.

2. The Judge did not allow the prosecutors to present evidence that Rittenhouse made public appearance in January with members of the Proud Boys group, which is a right-wing militia group that embraces political violence, ruling it was not relevant to the case. Judge Schroeder said he hadn’t heard of the Proud Boys prior to the Rittenhouse case, even though they were brought up during the 2020 Presidential Trump-Biden debate and have been found actively involved with the January 6 US capital takeover with many Proud Boy members charged and still in custody. Months after the shootings, Rittenhouse was seen in a bar with members of the Proud Boys. He wore a shirt that read “Free as Fuck.”

3. Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger told the court “(Rittenhouse’s) actions of coming into our community illegally after curfew with a gun at the time of a protest is entirely consistent with what the Proud Boys make it their job to do.” The Judge said the evidence was not relevant.

4. Judge Bruce Schroeder did not allow prosecutors to present evidence that Rittenhouse said two weeks before the shootings that he wished he had his gun so he could shoot criminals. Judge Schroeder ruled the circumstance of those statements by Rittenhouse “so dissimilar” to the crimes he is accused of and ruled he would not allow that evidence in the trial.

5. A total of 18 jurors were selected by the attorneys, 12 to act as the final jury and 6 selected as alternate jurors to serve to replace a seated juror should something happened. Once 18 were selected, the court allowed Rittenhouse to select the 6 alternatives by lottery where all 18 names were place in a container and the Defendant drew 6 names who served as alternates.

6. When Judge Schroeder gave jury instructions, he stopped in the middle of giving the jury instruction on “self-defense”, said it was confusing and questioned if it was in fact an accurate statement of the law. Jury instructions are standard instructions of the law already approved and required to be used by the courts.



Prosecutors portrayed Rittenhouse as a “wannabe soldier” who had gone looking for trouble that night. They argued Rittenhouse was the one responsible for creating a dangerous situation in the first place by taking a weapon to the protests and pointing his rifle at demonstrators.

In a dramatic move usually never recommended by defense lawyers to clients charged with murder, Rittenhouse took the stand and waived his constitutional right to remain silent in order to give his side of the events of that evening. Rittenhouse testified that he went Kenosha to provide protection for local businesses, provide first aid and admitted that he falsely claimed to be a certified emergency medical technician (EMT) on the night of the shooting. Rittenhouse testified: “I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself.”

Rittenhouse testified he went to the scene of the unrest to defend other people’s property. He testified he was fearful for his life and acted in self-defense when all 3 men individually and separately assaulted him in 3 separate incidents as he was being chased by them.

Breaking down at one point exhibiting great emotion but with no tears, Rittenhouse told the jury he opened fire after Rosenbaum chased him and tried to grab his gun and saying he was afraid his firearm was going to be taken away from him and used to kill him. Huber was killed after hitting Rittenhouse in the head and neck with a skateboard.

Grosskreutz was shot after approaching Rittenhouse with a pistol in his hand. Grosskreutz said despite being armed himself, he had his hands raised as he closed in on Rittenhouse and testified he did not intend to shoot Rittenhouse. Prosecutor Thomas Binger asked Grosskreutz why he didn’t shoot first and he responded:

“That’s not the kind of person that I am. That’s not why I was out there. … It’s not who I am. And definitely not somebody I would want to become.”

During cross-examination, Rittenhouse defense attorney Corey Chirafisi asked Grosskreutz:

“It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him … that he fired, right?”

Grosskreutz replied: “Correct.”

The defense presented a photo showing Grosskreutz pointing the gun at Rittenhouse, who was on the ground with his rifle pointed up at Grosskreutz. Under follow-up questioning from the prosecutor, he said he did not intend to point his weapon at Rittenhouse.

With respect to Joseph Rosenbaum, he was described by witnesses as “hyperaggressive” and the witnesses said that he dared others to shoot him and threatened to kill Rittenhouse earlier that night. Other witnesses said he acted “belligerently” but did not appear to pose a serious threat.

A videographer testified Rosenbaum lunged for the rifle just before he was shot, and a pathologist said his injuries appeared to indicate his hand was over the barrel. Also, Rosenbaum’s fiancée disclosed that he was on medication for bipolar disorder and depression. Rittenhouse’s lawyers labelled Rosenbaum a “crazy person.”


Prosecutors played a drone video showing the shooting Joseph Rosenbaum at close range after Rosenbaum had followed Rittenhouse in a parking lot where he ventured between parked cars . The footage depicted the clearest image of the shooting.

A few of the prosecutors witnesses were more helpful to the defense than the prosecution. Martin Howard, a Kenosha police detective, testified that Rittenhouse shouted “Friendly! Friendly! Friendly!” as he was being chased by Rosenbaum, and agreed with the defense’s characterization that their confrontation appeared to look like “the classic ambush.”

Each of the 3 shooting was captured on video either by bystanders or by FBI infrared video from a surveillance plane from almost 9,000 feet above the spot where Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum.

Videos played during the trial show Rittenhouse fleeing after shooting Rosenbaum and a crowd of people pursuing him, some yelling, Beat him up,” “Hey, he shot him,” and “Get him! Get that dude!”



In order for a person to be found guilty or acquitted on criminal charges, a jury must reach a unanimous verdict. If just one or more jurors cannot agree with a verdict, a mistrial is declared and a new trial is required unless the prosecution decides to no retry the case.

On Friday, November 19, Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on virtually all counts including first-degree intentional homicide and the four other felony charges. Rittenhouse could have been sentence to life in prison if found guilty on first-degree intentional homicide and the two other charges each carried over 60 years behind bars.


After the verdict, President Joe Biden was asked for his opinion on the verdict and he had this to say:

““I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works, and we have to abide by it. … While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken. … I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy.”



On June 15, 2021, a man was shot during a protest in Old Town over the “La Jornada” (The Journey) sculpture in front of the Albuquerque Museum. The shooting occurred during a protest for the removal of the figures of Juan de Onate de Salazar in the sculpture.

During the protest, there were 5 to 6 heavily armed New Mexico Civil Guard members, some dressed in military camouflage, present trying to “protect” the sculpture. It was reported that the shooting occurred when at least 3 of the protesters attacked a person identified as Steven Baca who was walking away from them.

Steven Baca was struck in the head with a skateboard and Baca drew a gun, shot numerous times, with one shot hitting one of the protesters. The shot protester was rushed to the hospital and was listed in critical but stable condition. Baca was surrounded by the New Mexico Civil Guard at the protest.


On November 19, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez was asked by KOB Channel 4 news to share his thoughts about the Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal verdict. Torrez had this to say:

“Although I am disappointed in the outcome of this trial, we respect the jury’s verdict and I would echo the calls we have heard around the country for those who are disappointed that they express themselves peacefully. … One of the things that is concerning to me is that individual who will look at this and think this kind of self-appointed vigilante activity is somehow acceptable. … It isn’t, and it’s something that we have to be mindful of.”

DA Torrez comments are important to note given that armed militia groups have clashed with protesters in Albuquerque. Torrez has filed a civil case against the citizens militia involved with the protest. In the summer of 2021, one protester was shot in Old Town during the Onate statue protest. The suspected shooter, Steven Baca, was surrounded by the New Mexico Civil Guard at the protest.

Steven Baca has been charged for his shooting of a protester and is awaiting trial which is anticipated to occur early next year. When Torrez was asked if he is worried the Rittenhouse case will impact the jury for the Baca case, Torrez had this to say:

“There are certain similarities and would imagine some of the lame legal arguments will be made, certainly by the defense – but there are certain factual differences that will probably lead to different rulings by the court and different evidence presented to the jury.”


On Monday, July 14, 2020, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez filed a civil lawsuit to stop the New Mexico Civil Guard private militia from usurping the state’s military and law enforcement authority. The lawsuit was filed against the New Mexico Civil Guard and 14 of its members who “include some individuals associated with white supremacist and neo-Confederate organizations,” according to the civil complaint. The case is still pending.


As disappointing the Rittenhouse acquittal was to many, it must be respected. Any one that believes that the verdict validates the Second Amend Right to bear arms is a damn fool and ignorant of our criminal justice system. The verdict could have very easily gone the other way with a different judge, a different jury not to mention in a federal courtroom as opposed to a state courthouse.

What the verdict does represent is that our criminal justice system is based on “due process of law”, the “presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” and that it is a jury of 12 that are the fact finders empowered to make the final decision on what happened based on the evidence presented to them. In the Rittenhouse case, the jury system worked.

The Rittenhouse acquittal also represents that “self-defense” can be claimed negating a guilty verdict even though the one who asserts it voluntarily thrust themselves into an event. It is well settled law that a person cannot claim self-defense if that person instigated an attack. In other words, Prosecutors must prove intent to provoke in order to negate a “self-defense” claim. Criminal prosecutors know full well that proving state of mind, or criminal intent, to get a conviction in a courtroom setting is the single biggest obstacle to overcome. In the Rittenhouse trial, the prosecution failed to prove their case and the defense did their job.

In the Rittenhouse acquittal, the jury decided to believe the defendant and decided that Rittenhouse felt endangered to the point that he felt he needed to use deadly force to protect himself from harm. The evidence that Rittenhouse was hit in the head or neck with a skateboard by one of the victims he killed and that another was armed with a handgun was more likely than not what created reasonable doubt in the jurors’ minds and that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. What also did not help the prosecutions case was when a Detective the prosecution called to the stand agreed with the defense that it was “the classic ambush.” with what happened to Rittenhouse by one of those he killed. The fact so much of all 3 of the shootings were captured on video also likely helped create reasonable doubt and did more to show Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense and was not the aggressor allowing his claim of self-defense to be believed by the jury.


Throughout history many a guilty person has been acquitted for crimes they committed. If jurors have no doubt as to the defendant’s guilt, or if their only doubts are unreasonable doubts, then the prosecutor has proven the defendant’s “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” and the defendant should be pronounced guilty. Jurors all too often do not do not believe the evidence presents or prefer to ignore the evidence presented which is their right. Jury’s are empowered to decide the credibility of a witnesses testimony and empowered to set aside the evidence and if they want. Once acquitted of the crimes charged, the prosecution cannot file the charges again and there is no right of appeal. Criminal prosecutors only get one bite at the apple so to speak.

Some of the more infamous acquittals in recent memory have included many celebrities, mothers, singers and athletes. OJ Simpson was accused of murdering his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman and was acquitted by a jury. Casey Anthony killed her two-year-old and was acquitted. R&B singer R. Kelly was charged with having sex with a minor and producing child pornography and was acquitted by a jury. Actor Robert Blake who was charged with conspiracy to murder his wife and was acquitted. George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old high school student Trayvon Martin on the night of February 26, 2012 and on July 13, 2013, a jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and of manslaughter charges. In 2003 singer Michael Jackson was arrested on charges of molesting a 13 boy and the jury found the singer not guilty of all charges with many more victims coming forward over the years. None of those listed admitted to doing the crime and demanded a jury trial. OJ Simpson said he was going to find the murderer of his wife after he was acquitted.


It was totally appropriate that District Attorney Raul Torrez as a prosecutor to say he was disappointed in the outcome of the Rittenhouse trial. That is and was his duty and responsibility. What was far more critical is that Torrez actually said he respected the jury’s verdict telling those who disagree with the verdict to express themselves peacefully. Torrez’s comments were a welcome relief from the political rhetoric that he is known for when he has repeatedly said that the “criminal justice system is broken” which is nothing more than political rhetoric that has gone a long way to get him elected not once but twice. He is now using it again as he runs for Attorney General, but this time in the context of the bail bond system.


District Attorney Raul Torrez is considered to be the biggest proponent of bail bond reform and advocates legislation that would create a “rebuttable presumption against release” in certain cases such as first- and second-degree murder cases, voluntary manslaughter, criminal sexual penetration, certain crimes against children, first-degree sexual assault, human trafficking, first-degree robbery, crimes involving a firearm and defendants who are on supervision or parole for another felony. Rebuttable presumption of being violent would mandate a charged defendant to be held in jail until trial, which could take years, and the defendant is released when evidence reveals that the defendant did not commit the crime. It has happened in in New Mexico in high profile violent crime cases and it will happen again with rebuttable presumption of being violent.

The most recent high profile case that comes to mind is the killing of 10-year old Victoria Martens where the child was brutally raped, murdered, dismembered and her body burned in the bathtub. The victim’s mother, 35-year-old Michelle Martens, her boyfriend, 31-year-old Fabian Gonzales; and Gonzales’ cousin, 31-year-old Jessica Kelley, were arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in grievous bodily harm or death, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. All three suspects pled not guilty and sat in jail pending trial. After two years, Michelle Martens pled guilty to one count of child abuse resulting in death. District Attorney Raul Torrez announced dismissal of charges against two of the 3 suspects after evidence, including DNA, revealed that two of the suspects did not kill the child, they were not even present at the time and the real murderer is still to be found.

Under the rebuttable presumption doctrine, in the most violent and serious cases an accused defendant would be required to show they do not pose a threat to public and should be released pending their trial. Such a shift of burden of proof could conceivably require a defendant to take the stand during a detention hearing before their trial and waive their 5th Amendment Constitutional Right against self-incrimination.

The biggest problem with “rebuttable presumption” being advocated by DA Torrez and others is that it undermines and is an affront to the most basic constitutional right guaranteed by the United States constitution of the “presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”.

In our criminal justice system, both in state and federal court, it is the prosecution that has the burden of proof to present evidence to convict a person. The rebuttable presumption shifts the burden of proving dangerousness from the prosecution and require defendants accused of certain crimes to show and convince a judge that they should be released on bond or conditions of release pending their trial on the charges.

The Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal underscores the serious defect in the “rebuttable presumption against release” being advocated by Torres. It underscores that “rebuttable presumption against release” undermines and is an affront to the most basic constitutional rights guaranteed by the United States constitution of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” and “due process of law”. With “rebuttable presumption against release”, Rittenhouse would have sat in jail until his trial. He did not because Rittenhouse was released from jail after his attorneys posted a $2 million cash bail funded by donations from guns rights advocates. With rebuttable presumption, Rittenhouse would not have been allowed to post bond.


There are a number of similarities with the District Attorneys prosecution of Steven Baca who Torrez has charged for shooting a protester at the June Onate statue protests, including Baca taking a weapon to a protest, being assaulted with a skate board, and a citizen militia going to a protest to protect property and a defendant proclaiming “self-defense” for shooting someone. Torrez himself said:

“There are certain similarities and would imagine some of the lame legal arguments will be made, certainly by the defense – but there are certain factual differences that will probably lead to different rulings by the court and different evidence presented to the jury.”

Torrez enjoys the “court of public opinion” when he spouts off to the press and business organizations, but a jury trial courtroom setting requires actual proof. Under no circumstances can “self-defense” be considered arguing a “lame legal defense”, and after so many years’ experience as a prosecutor, Torrez should know that, but ostensibly he knows very little about the defense. DA Raul Torrez should also know never, ever be so confident as to how a judge will rule and never underestimate a jury nor predict what it will do once it begins and completes deliberations. It’s unknown if DA Torrez will be the lead prosecutor in the Baca trial. If Baca is acquitted because of self defense, Torrez will be forced to eat his own words perhaps with a helping portion of humility if he is required to say “I am disappointed in the outcome of this trial, but I respect the jury’s verdict.”


The criminal justice system in this country has never been perfect, nor will it ever be, but it is not broken. The criminal justice system does have its flaws and a number of inequities, but to say that it is a broken system is just plain ignorance or political opportunism at its worst. The criminal justice is only as good as the stakeholders who are responsible to make it work and succeed. The Rittenhouse case showed the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense did its job by asserting and proving self-defense and the jury did its job as the fact finder.

Ultimately, the Kyle Rittenhouse case shows that the jury system works the way it is supposed to work and the verdict must be respected.

Federal Monitor Files 14th Report; Medina: “It’s a matter that APD don’t know how to do stuff to their liking”; Keller’s Failure “To Own” Reforms As Promised; Appoint Receiver Or Expect 4 More Years Of None Compliance

On March 15, 2018 a hearing was held on the Federal Monitor’s 6th Compliance Report on APD’s Compliance levels with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement. The hearing was the first ever attended by any Mayor with newly elected Mayor Tim Keller appearing along with newly appointed CAO Sarita Nair, Senior Public Safety Officer James B. Lewis, new interim APD Chief Michael Geier and Deputy Chief Harold Medina and new City Attorney Esteban Aguilar, Jr. Also attending was Police Union President Shaun Willoughby.

It was revealed that newly elected Mayor Tim Keller reached out in December, 2017 after being sworn in and had a confidential meeting with the parties and the federal judge. What Keller told the presiding Judge during the March 15, 2018 hearing was simple enough to understand. Kellersaid that he campaigned on the DOJ police reforms, he was committed to fully implement all the police reforms, that his appointed APD management was also fully committed to implementation of constitutional policing practices and that he was confident in the management team he appointed to get the job done. Mayor Keller also said “he owned it” when it came to the reforms and that he would be judged by the progress APD makes or doesn’t make during his term in office.


Fast forward to November 12, 2021. APD is no better off now under Keller than it was on March 15, 2018. APD is still struggling to implement the reforms after 4 full years of the Keller Administration. On November 12, 2021 the Federal Court Appointed Monitor James Ginger filed with the Federal Court his 14th “Compliance Levels of the Albuquerque Police Department and the City of Albuquerque with Requirements of the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement”. The report covers the time frame of February 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021. The link to review the entire 331 page report is here:


This blog article is an in-depth analysis of the 14th Federal Monitor’s report and highlighting the reports major findings. It also provides a reaction to the report by the Keller Administration, APD and the Police union.


On November 14, 2014, and after 6 months of negotiations, the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Police Department and the United State Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a stipulated Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). The Court Approved Settlement Agreement mandates 271 police reforms, the appointment of a Federal Monitor and the filing of Independent Monitor’s reports (IMRs). There are 276 paragraphs in 10 sections within the CASA with measurable requirements that the monitor reports on.

The link to the 118-page CASA is here:


Under the terms and conditions of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA), once APD achieves a 95% compliance rate in the 3 identified compliance levels and maintains it for 2 consecutive years, the case can be dismissed. Originally, APD was to have come into compliance within 4 years and the case was to be dismissed in 2020.

The 3 compliance levels can be explained as follows:

1. PRIMARY COMPLIANCE: Primary compliance is the “policy” part of compliance. To attain primary compliance, APD must have in place operational policies and procedures designed to guide officers, supervisors and managers in the performance of the tasks outlined in the CASA. As a matter of course, the policies must be reflective of the requirements of the CASA; must comply with national standards for effective policing policy; and must demonstrate trainable and evaluable policy components.

2. SECONDARY COMPLIANCE: Secondary compliance is attained by implementing supervisory, managerial and executive practices designed to and be effective in implementing the policy as written, e.g., sergeants routinely enforce the policies among field personnel and are held accountable by managerial and executive levels of the department for doing so. By definition, there should be operational artifacts such as reports, disciplinary records, remands to retraining, follow-up, and even revisions to policies if necessary, indicating that the policies developed in the first stage of compliance are known to, followed by, and important to supervisory and managerial levels of the department.

3. OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE: Operational compliance is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency e.g., line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance, not by the monitoring staff, but by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and command staff. In other words, the APD “owns” and enforces its policies.


In the November 12, 2021 IMR-14 report, the Federal Monitor reported the 3 compliance levels as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100 %; (No change)
Secondary Compliance: 82 %; (No change)
Operational Compliance: 62 % (An increase 3% points)

Regarding the compliance levels, the Federal Monitor wrote:

“These data depict an organization that is willing to ‘chip away’ at the margins, completing expeditiously tasks that improve efficiency – and even effectiveness – but steadfastly refusing to make meaningful reform to processes involving use of force, excessive use of force, the processes of police-community interactions on the street, supervision, command, and discipline.”

“These data indicate that over the last seven reporting periods (three years), APD has virtually held constant in its compliance outcomes. There has been remarkably little change in operational compliance levels since IMR-8 in 2013. Compliance figures have held steady over that period of time, with operational compliance registering 59 percent in IMR-8 and 62 percent in IMR-14.

When one considers the vast amounts of technical assistance, coaching, and problem-solving provided to APD by the monitoring team over the past seven reporting periods, a 3 percentage point increase in overall compliance is evidence that APD is unwilling or unable to meet the requirements of the CASA related to supervision and oversight of in-field operations. The data [collected] … indicate no meaningful improvement in operational compliance at APD since IMR-8. In the monitor’s experience, this represents a question.”



EDITOR’S NOTE: This information is prepared by the blog publisher. A review of APD’s compliance levels for the past two years for comparison is in order to get a better understanding of APD’s failure to implement the reforms and come into compliance. Operation Compliance for the last 3 years has hovered up and down from as low as 59% to the high of 66%.

It was in 2019 that APD was making the most progress in compliance with the reforms but for the next two full years thereafter there was a dramatic decline in compliance levels.

In the May 3, 2021 IMR-13 report, the Federal Monitor reported the 3 compliance levels as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100%;
Secondary Compliance: 82%, a 9% loss from previous report
Operational Compliance: 59%, a 3% loss from previous report


In the November 2, 2020 IMR-12 Report, the Federal Monitor reported the 3 compliance levels as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100% No change at 100%
Secondary Compliance: 91%, A 2% loss from previous report
Operational Compliance: 64% A 2% loss from previous report


In the MAY 4, 2020 IMR-11 Report, the Federal Monitor reported the 3 compliance levels as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100%;
Secondary Compliance: 93%;
Operational Compliance: 66%.


Comparing the November 1, 2019 IMR 10 Report to the IMR 11 Report the 3 compliance levels changed as follows:

Primary Compliance: No Change at 100%
Secondary Compliance: From 81% in IMR 10 to 93% in IMR 11, there was a 14.8% plus increase
Operational Compliance: From 64% in IMR 10 to 66% in IMR 11, a 3%. Increase

Page 4, IMR-11 Report


In the MAY 2, 2019 IMR-9 Report, the Federal Monitor reported the 3 compliance levels as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100%;
Secondary Compliance: 78%
Operational Compliance: 62%.

(Page 4, IMR-9 Report)


All documents related to APD’s settlement agreement can be downloaded and reviewed at this city web site link:



EDITOR’S NOTE: As is the case with virtually all of the 14 Federal Monitor Reports, the 330 page 14th report is verbose, very technical, difficult to read, difficult to follow and understand by the any average person of reasonable intelligence. Bolded category headlines and sentences are not part of the monitor’s report and have been added by the publisher to assist readers and to emphasize critical points and findings.

Major highlights that can be mined from the 14th Monitors Report are as follows:


“APD has completed the 2021 firearms training cycle, and in doing so, has moved back into operational compliance.

APD’s Training Academy has made meaningful progress in resurrecting its training processes.

APD Recruitment staff continue to develop strategies and concepts for recruiting new police officers during the pandemic. At a time when interest in the profession is down significantly nationwide, APD Recruiting has managed to increase interest in APD by utilizing digital platforms to reach an applicant pool that now includes at least 43 states.”


“The most important issues affecting APD during the IMR-14 reporting period involve misconduct investigations, use of force investigations, the lack of progressive discipline when misconduct is found, and supervision and leadership.

All non-force-related misconduct investigations completed by APD … were found to be deficient. A total of 17 misconduct cases, 6 investigated by Internal Affairs and 9 area command investigations were reviewed, including two that were completed by outside agencies.

The only properly investigated case reviewed by the monitoring team this reporting period was completed by an outside agency. In two consecutive reporting periods, a virtual shut down of use of force investigations has occurred in Internal Affairs.

Only seven, or 3%, of the 216 Level 2 cases opened were closed. Only 1 of those 7 was completed within 90 days, or less than one-half of a percent. Only two of 91 Level 3 use of force cases opened during this period were completed by [Internal Affairs Force Division] IFD or 2%. Neither of the 2 cases were completed within the CASA required 90-day period.

We find these failings to be more than notable, given the amount of time the monitoring team spent with APD in the last three reporting periods specifically focused on process improvement processes at [the Internal Affairs Force Division] IAFD. Of the twelve cases reviewed for compliance concerning discipline, only 58% met the requirements for adherence to progressive discipline as outlined in the CASA.

A second backlog of 667 uninvestigated use of force cases, as of the draft of this report, was reported. This second backlog is more than double the initial backlog APD dealt with from 2018-2020 and does not include any of the contemporary cases left uninvestigated by IAFD.

Approximately 83% of these cases are already time-barred for discipline in accordance with the CBA, should misconduct be found. Since its discovery, this backlog has been reduced from 667 cases to 660 cases (as of October 25, 2021). At this rate of case productivity, we project that it will take APD 94 months to “clear” this second backlog, which, again, would ensure no disciplinary actions for policy violations in another 667 cases.”


“Given the amount of focus on the problems related to [the Internal Affairs Force Division] IAFD investigations in previous monitor’s reports, and the exceptional amounts of technical assistance provided by the monitoring team relating to IAFD processes, we can only conclude that this new backlog was intentional, and yet another canard designed to ensure that officers are not disciplined for known policy violations. We consider this another example of deliberate non-compliance exhibited by APD.

Leadership and supervision, especially in the critical areas of reform listed above, are simply lacking—or in some cases not extant. As such, these findings require direct action by the City and APD leadership to identify the causes of, and to take corrective actions responding to, what can only be described as deliberate failures to comply with existing APD policy and with CASA requirements.

Given the extensive amounts of technical assistance provided by the monitoring team related to misconduct investigations and to workload management, we can only conclude that these jarring failures are deliberate.

This reform project’s evaluation process, i.e., the manner in which the monitoring team assesses and reports progress on the required reforms, has been closely aligned to the measurable tenets of effective management.

First, the methodology closely conforms with the concept that effective management is based on developing cogent and coherent policies (articulation of acceptable activities required of police personnel).

Officers, supervisors, managers, and leaders must be clearly “on notice” of organizational expectations, so that they understand and are willing to adhere to those expectations. Once these reformative policies have been articulated, all involved personnel (recruits, officers, supervisors, and managers) must be trained to the point that they understand and are capable of implementing these policies.”


“Finally, and most importantly, once adequate policies are developed and effective training is delivered, police personnel (recruits, officers, supervisors, managers, and leaders) must be willing and able to ensure that the policies and training are followed in the field.

Once that initial commitment is achieved, and personnel are adequately trained to the point that they are capable of implementing their training on a day-to-day basis and can implement expected operational processes, progress is possible. This means that departmental operations should change, such that the vast majority of police interactions will occur within parameters established by policy, training, and supervision.

In addition, it is assumed that those few officers, supervisors, and managers who prove they cannot or will not comply to organizational norming processes will be identified by internal oversight processes, and will be either retrained, counseled, or “disciplined” to the point that compliance either occurs or they decide to leave the agency (or in rare instances are separated from the agency).”


“The monitor’s oversight process for APD during the past six years has been based on this near-universal understanding of police operational management and control. After six years of implementation, APD has fallen significantly short in its ability to engender the supervisory, managerial, and leadership efforts that have been demonstrated much earlier in other law enforcement agencies monitored in this manner.

The fact that this planned change process works, and can work well, is documented in the fact that a large majority of this monitor’s staff working on the Albuquerque Police Department monitoring process are past members of organizations that have been directly monitored by the current APD monitor.

These team members have “lived the change process” and done so successfully in their respective agencies, thus are uniquely situated to guide APD successfully through the change process.

Given the amount of technical assistance provide to APD by members of this monitoring team; given the fact that for every “out-of-compliance” outcome found by the monitor, there are recommendations developed to guide APD into compliance; given the inordinate amounts of “technical assistance” provided to APD by 4 members of the monitoring team over the past six years.

The monitor can only conclude, based on his knowledge, training and experience, that these failures at APD are deliberate.”


The Federal Monitor offered the following summation:


“APD has made progress this reporting period. Effective management is evident in the policy development and dissemination function. The Performance Metric Unit continues to do stellar work in planning, developing, and implementing practices to assess performance in the field.

[The Special Operations Division] SOD and [Special Investigations Division] SID, the recruiting function, and Citizen Policing Councils all have shown consolidation and integration of effort this reporting period. In addition, APD has completed the 2021 Firearms training cycle, moving several paragraphs back into operational compliance as a result.

The policy development and approval process is much improved over the past few reporting periods, with APD demonstrating the ability to think critically about work processes and producing policy drafts that require only modest input from the monitor.

Given the results of our review of APD support and administrative functions, APD has made substantial progress in resurrecting its training practices (which we found to be in disarray in IMRs 12 and 13).

In addition, we found no major compliance issues with [Electronic Control Weapons] ECW usage by APD during this reporting period, though we note that a new training cycle related to ECW is imminent and recommend that the training documentation be provided to the monitor for review prior to implementation.”


“We have noted critical potential issues with APD’s Force Review Board this reporting period, including our assessment that the number of uses of force requiring review by [the Force Review Board] FRB are likely to overload the review and assessment mechanism. This speaks as much to APD’s inability (or unwillingness) to control unnecessary or improper uses of force as it does to the efficacy of the Force Review Board itself.

The sheer volume of reported uses of force by APD officers threatens to overload the oversight system. This is both a commentary on the magnitude of reportable uses of force effectuated by APD officers and the relative inability or unwillingness of APD field commanders to call out improper uses of force.

As with past reporting periods, however, the central CASA requirements related to use of force continue to need a great deal of scrutiny and oversight if APD is to reach full compliance with the requirements of the CASA.”


“APD’s training and in-field practices related to crowd control, oversight, and related processes also show the need for improvement. In general, policy development, training, supervision, and oversight of force-related practices require intense scrutiny from all APD command levels.

We have developed multiple recommendations for improvement processes related to use-of-force issues in the 14th report. We recommend APD review these recommendations carefully, and consider, create, and deliver a broad-scale, coordinated response designed to address those issues and recommendations.

As usual, we recommend APD develop a detailed Problems-Issues-Needs-Solutions assessment outlining their findings related to identifying, classifying, and managing use of force events involving APD personnel. The monitoring team stands ready to assist APD with this process.”


“For the last seven reporting periods, operational compliance levels have been virtually static, with operational compliance levels holding at or near an average of 62 percent. Actual data points range from a low of 59 percent (IMR-8 and IMR-13) to a high of 66 percent (IMR-11).

Our assessment is that APD has dealt with the low hanging fruit of the CASA and has deliberately failed to deal with the issues that are the crux of the reform process: officers’ tendencies to use unnecessary force, to under-report (or fail to report) uses of force, and supervisory and oversight personnel’s unwillingness to identify, classify, and correct these issues.

Obviously, use of force practices are a key element of the reform process. To date, APD, as an organization, has simply refused to deal effectively with pressing use of force issues. The monitoring team has provided, and continues to, provide more technical assistance to APD than any other police department it has monitored.

For the most part, that technical assistance is not implemented by APD when it comes to identifying, classifying, investigating, and correcting unnecessary uses of force by its personnel.

The monitor is convinced that, at this point, failures by APD to deal with improper uses of force are related to will, not ability.”


The City Attorney and APD officials do not dispute the data contained in the 14th Federal Monitor’s Report, but sharply took issue with the way it is presented in the report.


City Attorney Esteban Aguilar, Jr. had this to say:

“Using … inflammatory hyperbolic language is improper editorializing in a whole lot of areas. … It improperly ascribes intent to the work of our officers, the women and men who are on the ground, trying to not only keep us safe, but trying to implement all of the provisions of constitutional community-based policing.”

“We have failures, you know, we still have … 37% operational compliance to attain, so we do have a long way to go. … But we’re not at the beginning of this process. And, I think it does a disservice to the work of the department, but also the work of the community members who have been engaged in this process, and who have been actually asking for meaningful change as well, because we’ve been walking with them step by step throughout this process.”


APD Chief Medina condemned the 14th Federal Monitor report saying it’s easy for someone who is “thousands of miles away” to point at APD’s problems and saying it’s intentional. Medina claims that everyone is working to comply in the best way they can and he had this to say:

“It’s a matter that we don’t know how to do stuff to their liking, or to their standards. … I think that’s been a problem from the very beginning is that instantly when APD fails, they’re tagged by the monitoring team, DOJ, as ‘Oh, APD is resisting this.’ No, you guys are all here because APD sometimes doesn’t know how to do this stuff. And that’s what we should be doing is if we’re doing it wrong, correct us more quickly, and give us the lag time to put the fixes in place.”

Medina said he agreed with parts of the report and acknowledge there is more work to done particularly with some officers in the ranks who are not doing what is required under the consent decree. Medina had this to say:

“There may be individual officers that may be deliberately not doing something they need to do. … The thing I take offense to is that leadership questions that this isn’t being supported by leadership.”



Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officer’s Association, had this to say about the 14th Federal Monitor’s Report:

“Dr. Ginger is pointing the finger at APD, saying that they’re doing this intentionally. That’s an absolute absurd joke. It’s a lie. … The monitor was supposed to be here in Albuquerque, helping with technical assistance. He’s doing that over Zoom and over phone calls from a different state.”

What Willoughby does not disclose is that the monitor did live here for a while and it is not just him doing all the work. The federal monitor’s reports and the data being collected is being done by a team of upwards of 10 employees who come to the city, review data and work with APD to give them guidance.



APD Forward is a coalition of 27 police reform advocacy groups and community stakeholders that were instrumental in petitioning in bringing the Department of Justice to the city to investigate APD’s use of deadly force. The American Civil Liberties New Mexico chapter is part of APD Forward and acts as it main spokesperson. Barron Jones, a senior policy strategist with the ACLU, said after reading the report, it’s clear that APD still has a lot of work to do and said:

“Unfortunately, it’s more of the same [from APD]. … While we recognize the department’s efforts to improve training and that the performance metric unit is up and helping folks analyze trends we believe that the crux of the reform lies in the department’s ability to address bad behavior, or out of policy violations. That doesn’t seem to be happening yet during another monitor report.

“It just sort of boils down to are they completing those use of force investigations in a timely manner, in a way that [APD] … leadership can take corrective action and address behavior before it gets out of hand. You know, the department can make all the changes in the world, but if they can’t get that component right, then the reform process is falling flat. ”

Jones said that it is not clear what APD Forward will do in response to the 14th report filed.

Links to quoted source material are here:




The City Attorney, Chief Medina and police union President Ghostbuster’s “Slimer Shaun” Willoughby did not dispute the data contained in the 14th Federal Monitor’s Report, yet they slamed the monitor’s report calling his conclusions “inflammatory hyperbolic language”, “improper editorializing” an “absolute joke” and the Chief admitting that “sometimes APD doesn’t know how to do this stuff”.


APD Chief Harold Medina once again is an embarrassment as he exhibits his ignorance and shows he is way over his head when it comes to the DOJ reforms when he says:

“It’s a matter that we don’t know how to do stuff to their liking, or to their standards. … I think that’s been a problem from the very beginning is that instantly when APD fails, they’re tagged by the monitoring team, DOJ, as ‘Oh, APD is resisting this.’ No, you guys are all here because APD sometimes doesn’t know how to do this stuff.”

All that “stuff” and the DOJ standards Medina is talking about are constitutional policing practices that prevent APD from using excessive use of force and deadly force that created the “culture of aggression” found by the Department of Justice. It was a culture of aggression that Medina was aware of, contributed to and failed to take any action to stop.

Simply put, Medina was and still is a big part of the problem as reflected by his sure incompetence over the last 4 years working for Mayor Tim Keller first as APD Deputy Chief in charge of field services then as first Deputy Chief before he orchestrated Chief Geier’s termination and was appointed by Keller as permanent APD Chief.


Ghostbuster’s “Slimer Shaun” Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officer’s Association, is the one who is the “absolute absurd joke” and who is lying when it comes to saying the monitor gave no “technical assistance” and slighted the monitor’s reliance on “zoom” technology and not living in the city. The blunt truth is that the Federal Monitor has no management, nor control over APD. It is APD management, including the police union membership of Sergeants and Lieutenants, that are responsible to implement the reforms, not the monitor.

During the past 7 years, Shaun Willoughby and the police union members he represents have done everything they can to undercut the police reforms brought on by the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation that found a “culture of aggression” and repeated use of deadly force and excessive use of force. The Federal Court Appointed Monitor some time ago labeled the union interference with the reforms as the “County Casa Effect”. The Federal monitor defined the Counter Casa Effect as a group of “high-ranking police officers who are Sergeants and lieutenants, who go to extreme lengths to excuse officer behaviors that clearly violate established and trained APD policy.”

The federal monitor has said that APD management “uses excuses, deflective verbiage, de minimis comments and unsupported assertions to avoid calling out subordinates’ failures to adhere to established policies and expected practice. The monitor has said “sergeants and mid-level managers lieutenants routinely ignore serious violations, fail to note minor infractions, and instead, consider a given case “complete”.

Federal monitor Ginger has said:

“the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) disciplinary timelines, appear at times to be manipulated by supervisory, management and command levels at the area commands, letting known violations lie dormant until timelines [mandated by the union contract] for discipline cannot be met. … Supervision, which includes Lieutenants and Sergeants in the union, need to leave behind its dark traits of myopia, passive resistance, and outright support for, and implementation of, counter-CASA processes.”


On April 27, 2021, it was widely reported that the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) launched a $70,000 political ad campaign to discredit the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms saying the police reforms are preventing police officers from doing their jobs and combating crime.

APOA Police Union President Shaun Willoughby described the need for the public relations campaign this way:

“You can either have compliance with DOJ reforms or you can have lower crime. You can’t have both. We think it’s time that our city leaders hear from the public that crime matters more because it does. … They want to focus on the growing crime problem, instead of wasting millions of dollars on endless Department of Justice oversight. … This conversation of reform needs to come back to common sense.”


After a full 4 years under Mayor Tim Keller, its likely APD will continue with the same ploy of not accepting responsibility for their continued failure to implement the reforms.

The biggest complaint of all the DOJ consent decrees in the country is implementation and enforcement “go on and on” for years, costing millions in taxpayer dollars. That is exactly what is happening in Albuquerque, and will continue to do so unless the Federal Court puts the brakes on it. The single most remarkable understatement made during a December 4 status conference hearing was made by Special Counsel for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division Paul Killebrew when he said:

“APD has proven over and over again its agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA.”

It’s more likely than not APD management, the union and the rank and file will continue with their efforts of “noncompliance” and obstruction tactics. Where there is a will to obstruct the CASA reforms, APD management and the Police Union always find a way. The City and the DOJ have failed to learn that lesson after 7 years and millions spent on the reform effort. The Federal Monitoring Team after 7 years know without any doubt what needs to be done with use of force investigation and knows where things are lacking. The 300 plus page audits covering each time the 271 reforms and the Monitor always have the same old refrain “it’s not my job” to manage does not cut it.


Returning to a time of deadly use of force, excessive use of force and a “culture of aggression” by APD is not an option. Tim Keller has been a failure, despite his pronouncement that he “owned it”, with his efforts to implement the reforms. With the release of the 14th Federal Monitor’s report, the always publicity seeking news hound Keller was nowhere to be found to make comment on the report content now that he has another 4 years. Instead, Keller allows his City Attorney and APD Chief to do the dirty work for him to criticize the 14th report.

Now that Mayor Tim Keller has been elected to a second 4-year term, APD management, the police union, including Sergeants and Lieutenants who are allowed to be in the police union, will continue to be openly critical of the Federal Monitor. They will resist the police reforms with the ultimate goal of having the case dismissed.

Given Keller’s own leadership failure and reluctance to hold his appointed APD command staff accountable for their failures, the Department of Justice should quickly move and ask for a takeover of APD with a court appointed receiver to get done what they want done and what needs to be done to achieve constitutional policing practices.


Enough wasting time, enough wasting millions with very little to show for, enough hoping things will get better allowing APD to implement the reforms for compliance. It is not at all likely that after 7 years and millions spent and another 4 more years of Mayor Keller’s failed leadership APD is going to get any better when it comes to APD police reform.

The DOJ needs to be ordered to take over APD with an appointed receiver who will be aggressive and get the job done.



Vote Rob Grilley, City Council District 9

The December 7 runoff election in City Council District 9 is between Democrat ROB GRILLEY, 37, running against Republican RENEE GROUT, 60. District 9 is currently represented by Don Harris, a four-term Republican who has represented the district since 2005 and has decided not to run for a 5th term. District 7 is east Albuquerque from Menaul and Eubank, south to Kirtland Air Force base, and east of Tramway. The District includes the 4 Hills Country Club area. www.PeteDinelli.com invited ROB GRILLEY to submit a guest column as an endorsement for distribution on his behalf.


Rob and his husband Matthew Allen live in the Volterra community of Juan Tabo Hills with their two dogs, Duncan and Gurney. Matt works as a scientist at Sandia National Laboratory and Duncan and Gurney work hard taking their owners on long walks and hikes.

Rob grew up in Connecticut in a family that taught him the value of service from a young age. His father is a disabled Vietnam veteran and a former police officer and small business owner. His mother worked full-time in addition to raising him and his two sisters, as well as being involved in community volunteer work.

After working in the technology field in the lead up to the 2008 financial crash, Rob shifted focus to career paths that gave back to the community; working as a community center programming director and for the board of education in Connecticut. Then, upon coming to New Mexico, working in early childhood education learning centers and volunteering with non-profit organizations.

Working with the Common Bond New Mexico Foundation, first as a volunteer and ultimately as President of the organization, Rob saw first-hand not only the challenges and needs facing the young people of our community but the struggles of their families as well. Through his time with Common Bond NM he has worked with Albuquerque city services, state services, and other local non-profit organizations to help youth and families struggling with food insecurity, housing insecurity, access to healthcare and other basic services.

Most recently, in an effort to serve more people more effectively, Rob went back to school and in the middle of the 2020 pandemic graduated UNM at the age of 36. Following his graduation, he immediately put his degree to use, working on the campaign of a then-candidate for his state house district, succeeding in helping her election, and then continuing on to Santa Fe and working for the state legislature.



“Reducing crime in our city and implementing law-enforcement reform are interconnected and significant challenges that weigh heavily on the people of Albuquerque. One of the first steps to reduce crime is to rebuild trust and open communication between law enforcement and the people who live here.

Over the past several years, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and District Attorney’s office have modernized and updated critical infrastructure and processes for fighting crime in our city. As a result, incidents of property crime such as auto theft, vandalism, and burglary are lower today than two years ago. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, crimes against people and society are on the rise, which shows we still have work to do.

At the same time as we’re seeing an increase in crimes against people and society, our community is experiencing a loss of trust in the police. Restoring this trust is critical for APD to be successful in its mission. And the best way to restore this trust is a committed approach to transparency and accountability. The city has made positive steps in this direction by:

• Appointing Sylvester Stanley as Superintendent of Police Reform; his experience and oversight role over the police academy, APD settlements, and internal affairs units will help correct systemic institutional problems, while allowing Chief Medina to remain focused on the city’s very real crime problems;

• The creation of, and support for, programs like the APD Community Ambassador Program, the Community Policing Councils, and the Albuquerque Community Safety Department.

Each of these programs, as with all city programs that are new and still developing, will require close engagement with the City Council. The Council must work with the Mayor, APD, and the District Attorney to ensure these programs:

• focus on transparency and accountability, with regular communication from police leadership regarding not just how they are doing, but where they are be struggling;

• provide social services responses rather than police dispatch responses for those in need of help who aren’t actually committing a crime;

• are funded at the level they need to be successful.

Community policing isn’t just a political catchphrase, it is the basic ideal that we should always strive for. The brave men and women who serve on our police force are an integral part of our community. If elected I will push for measures, tools, and resources to help law enforcement fight and address crime. I will work tirelessly to help facilitate a strong, working, trust-based relationship between law enforcement and the people they serve.”


“I look around District 9 and I see hard working people losing their jobs and businesses failing from no fault of their own. We need to ensure that they aren’t left behind on our road to recovery.

Albuquerque City Council District 9’s section of Historic Route 66 has over a dozen vacant lots, boarded up commercial plazas, and run-down properties. The pandemic exacerbated this problem, and the surviving businesses on our part of Central now have to face additional problems such as vandalism, property damage, and reduced safety for their employees and customers.

We need an economic development plan that focuses on our part of the Central corridor, from Tramway to Eubank, the Eastern Gateway into the city of Albuquerque. As your City Councilor, I’ll use all the tools that are available to the office in dealing with property owners that are delinquent in keeping their properties secure, safe, and ready for businesses to move in. By citing property owners that neglect their properties, partnering with property owners that are working hard to maintain them, and strengthening city programs that support local businesses, we can revitalize the Eastern Gateway neighborhood.

As the largest metropolitan center in the state of New Mexico, Albuquerque is a fantastic place to start or own a business. We need city representatives that understand how much we rely on the success of our businesses and are committed to ensure our district remains a strong commercial sector for the city.”


“We need a systemic response to this systemic problem.

Homelessness in Albuquerque threatens public health and safety, compromises our security, and is not being properly addressed. At the extremes we are experiencing, homelessness even breaks down the community bonds that would otherwise help bring us all together. Those experiencing homelessness are often victims of social stigma—living in shame and isolation—making it almost impossible to break the cycle of economic hardship.

To reduce homelessness and at the same time increase public health, security, and even save tax-payer money, we need to focus on a continuum-of-care solution that focuses on changing outcomes rather than just providing services; one that activates the moment someone loses their home or is at risk of homelessness. We need a solution that reduces the long-term burden on taxpayers and leads those once at risk, back to a position of housing security and financial independence.

In 2012 (almost a decade ago) Shaun Donovan, the secretary of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department remarked, “…between shelters and emergency rooms and jails, it costs about $40,000 a year for a homeless person to be on the streets.” This estimate is supported by a 2017 RAND Corporation study that specifically evaluated a Department of Health Services program in Los Angeles County, California that found the cost of caring for those experiencing homelessness was on average $38,146 per person per year.

People experiencing homelessness are at a much higher risk of contracting public illnesses that can be transmitted to others and result in serious medical conditions or even death (see CDC study on Hepatitis A and COVID-19).

Those experiencing homelessness often live in shame and isolation. Such social barriers make seeking help difficult if not impossible. Children of those trapped in a cycle of homelessness often grow up to become homeless adults themselves.

According to the recent Point in Time (PIT) survey conducted by the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness (NMCEH) conducted in Albuquerque in January of 2021, there are more than 1500 people experiencing homelessness and more than 350 people living on the street (unsheltered). Of those living on the street, 25% have a substance use disorder and 25% have a serious mental illness.

These statistics are dire but the solution is not complicated, it simply requires work to implement. We need to collectively acknowledge a truth that we already know: Providing a meal, or a voucher to spend a night at a hotel does NOT give a home to the homeless, work to the unemployed, or personal security to someone with nothing. By implementing a system that could literally use existing city government infrastructure, we can work to change outcomes; transition the homeless back into homes by connecting them with steady employment and restoring their personal security and independence.”


The December 7 runoff ballot for District 9 consists solely the listing of two names, and nothing else is on the ballot. It is expected that the voter turnout will be dramatically lower. To complicate things is that the city council races are nonpartisan by state law and therefore party affiliation will not be delineated on the ballot. It is common knowledge amongst political insiders that Republican Renee Grout is a very right-wing Republican Trump supporter.

ROB GRILLEY has no problem at all identifying himself as a Democrat. RENEE GROUTR on the other hand avoids talking about her Republican party affiliation as she uses the old misleading Republican ploy of not identifying her party affiliation and asks people to vote for her saying that municipal elections are “non-partisan and you should vote for the person and not the party” all the while relying on the State and County Republican Party and major Republican donors who want to flip the city council Republican.

Republican Renee Grout’s run off election is being managed by Mc Cleskey Media, the political consulting firm owned by long time Republican political operative Jay McClesky known for his “slash and burn” campaign style to smear Democrats and anyone considered progressive. McClusky managed the two successful elections of Republican Mayor Richard Berry and former two term Governor “She who must not be named” and influenced and made recommendations to fill high paying Government jobs to Republican Operatives. Mc Cleskey Media has successfully managed city council races now and in the past.

Republican Renee Grout has a distinct advantage over Democrat Rob Grilley because Grout is relying on two Republican measured finance committees including Healthy Economies Lead to Progress, the measured Finance Committee established to promote and support Republicans. Healthy Economies Lead to Progress filed its Runoff Finance statement for the time period of October 30 to November 5 reporting it has a closing balance of $87,864.62 for the reporting period it can use for the City Council runoff election.

ROB GRILLEY has a firm grasp of the problems having an impact on District 9, but also the 3 major problems affecting the city.

If you are a registered voter in City Council District 9, you are urged to vote and support Rob Grilley. He knows the district, he knows the issues and will have a positive impact on the city council.

Links to related blog articles are here:

Runoff City Council Candidates Abandon Public Finance To Rely On Private Finance Donations; Follow The Republican Money; Links to Donate To Democrats

Der Führer Trump Republican Party Crawls Out Of Woodwork To Try And Flip ABQ City Council; Democrats Waking Up To A New Reality; What To Expect If Republicans Succeed On December 7

Vote Tammy Fiebelkorn City Council District 7

The December 7 run off in City Council District 7 is between Democrat Tammy Fiebelkorn running against Republican Lori Robertson. District 7 is the Mid-heights including Coronado Shopping Center and Uptown surrounding areas and parts of the near northeast heights. City Council District 7 at one time was City Council District 5 before the city council districts were realigned. Pete Dinelli was the city councilor for the area at one time and invited Tammy Fiebelkorn to submit a guest column as a sign of support by this blog for distribution on her behalf. Following is her guest column, unedited and in her own words:


“I’m Tammy Fiebelkorn, and I’m running for Albuquerque City Council because I care. I care about the environment, I care women’s rights, equality, unions, workers, public safety and community health. I believe in social justice and want to make sure every decision made by City Council is looked at through an equity lens.

I love living in District 7. It’s been my home for two decades. My partner, Paul, and I reside here with our furry and feathered kids: Frida (17-year-old mutt), Frijolito (12-year-old mutt), Cinderella (9-year-old mutt), and Mr. T (69-year-old paralyzed parrot). We love this district because it has the best of all worlds—great parks, vibrant small businesses, an incredibly diverse population, and lots of entertainment options for people young and old.

Just like other parts of Albuquerque – and cities nationwide, we have our share of challenges. I know this firsthand, from walking door-to-door daily for the past six months. During that time, I’ve heard stories of incredible compassion, courage, and heartbreak. I’ve met people struggling to pay their bills, coping with increased crime, living with the negative impacts of climate change on a daily basis, and working together to make our community stronger and better. Here’s what I’ve learned: Albuquerque is still a place where we take care of one another.

The priorities I’ve heard from District 7 residents:

● Safe streets with more programs to address substance abuse and behavioral health, with equal rights and protections for all residents, regardless of race, religion, ability, or identity
● Relief from the COVID pandemic for working families and small businesses
● A transition to a clean energy economy, with reduced utility costs, cheaper and cleaner transportation options, and healthier air and water
● City policies that protect and respect all animals

I was born in Grants and raised by a divorced single mother. We were poor. My mother struggled to keep us housed and fed. I was the first in my mother’s family to go to college. Now I am a small business owner and an environmental economist, having earned degrees in economics and finance from Northeast Louisiana University and a master’s in natural resource economics from Colorado State University. I have advocated for over thirty years to reduce energy use, environmental impacts, and energy burdens on working families, including helping to pass the landmark Energy Transition Act and the Efficient Use of Energy Act. I am passionate about animals and ensuring that everyone is safe from family violence, including children, animals, adults, and seniors. I founded Positive Links, a nonprofit organization dedicated to training law enforcement officers and social workers about this issue. As someone who had breast cancer, I know that our health—as individuals and as a community—is more important than anything.

I know what it’s like to struggle and have to decide whether to pay the rent or the utility bill. I believe we all need to take care of one another. My Republican opponent has already attacked me in a mail piece and has the backing of an enormous PAC, funded by real estate development and big oil interests. I hope I can count on your support because we have a lot to do, District 7. I invite you to find out more at www.tammyforalbuquerque.com and I ask for your support.”


The December 7 runoff ballot for District 7 consists solely the listing of two names, and nothing else is on the ballot. It is expected that the voter turnout will be dramatically lower. To complicate things is that the city council races are nonpartisan by state law and therefor party affiliation will not be delineated on the ballot. It is common knowledge amongst political insiders that Republican Lori Robertson is a very right-wing Republican Trump supporter.

Tammy Fiebelkorn has no problem at all identifying herself as a Democrat on her campaign materials. Lori Robertson on the other hand avoids stating her party affiliation on campaign materials as she uses the old misleading Republican ploy of not identifying her party affiliation in predominantly Democrat City Council Districts to vote for her saying that municipal elections are “ non-partisan and you should vote for the person and not the party.”

Robertson is relying heavily on Republican Party financial support, volunteer work and two Republican measured finance committees. Republican Lori Robertson has a distinct financial advantage over Democrat Tammy Fiebelkorn. Healthy Economies Lead to Progress, the measured Finance Committee established to promote and support Republicans filed its Runoff Finance statement for the time period of October 30 to November 5 reporting it has a closing balance of $87,864.62 for the reporting period it can use for the City Council runoff election.

Link to related blog articles are here:

Runoff City Council Candidates Abandon Public Finance To Rely On Private Finance Donations; Follow The Republican Money; Links to Donate To Democrats

Der Führer Trump Republican Party Crawls Out Of Woodwork To Try And Flip ABQ City Council; Democrats Waking Up To A New Reality; What To Expect If Republicans Succeed On December 7

“Those Who Give Up Essential Liberty To Purchase Temporary Safety, Deserve Neither”; Misleading Advocacy For “Rebuttable Presumption” Leads To Shift In Public Opinion

It was in 2016 that New Mexico voters approved a constitutional amendment that largely eliminated the former system of money bail bonds. The bail bond system was severely defective because it kept nonviolent offenders in jail until trial because they could not afford to post bail.


On November 8, 2016, the “New Mexico Denial of Bail Measure” was approved by New Mexico voters by a landslide vote. The Constitutional Amendment amended the New Mexico Constitution to change the conditions under which a defendant can be denied bail and not released from custody pending trial. The Constitutional Amendment was designed to retain the right to pretrial release for “non-dangerous” defendants.

Before passage of the amendment, a defendant’s bail and release from jail pending trial on charges could be denied:

1. Only for a defendant charged with a capital felony, or
2. A defendant has two or more felony convictions or
3. A defendant is accused of a felony involving the use of a deadly weapon if the defendant has a felony conviction in New Mexico.

The adopted amendment changed these requirements, allowing bail to be denied to a defendant who has been charged with a felony only if the prosecutor can prove to a judge that the defendant poses “a threat to the public.”

The adopted amendment also provides that a defendant who is not a danger to the community or a flight risk cannot be denied bail solely because of the defendant’s financial inability to post a money or property bond.


The passage of the amendment allows the courts to deny bail to a defendant charged with a felony if a prosecutor shows evidence that the defendant poses a threat to the public, while also providing that a defendant cannot be denied bail because of a financial inability to post a bond. Had the amendment failed, the bail bond system would have remained intact thereby keeping the state’s specific requirements that bail could be denied to a defendant charged with a felony if the defendant also had prior felony convictions in the state resulting in a defendant being confined in jail pending trial.


The final vote was 87.23%, with 616,887 voting YES and 12.77%, with 90,293 voting NO.


District Attorneys throughout the state argued the changes to the bail bond laws, as well as rules imposed by the New Mexico Supreme Court, made it way too difficult for them to do their jobs and prove to a judge that a defendant poses a threat to the public justifying that a violent felon be denied bail and be held in custody pending trial. As crime rates increased judges were accused of allowing “catch and release of violent felons”.

Prosecutors and law enforcement across the state repeatedly slam judges and the court system for letting out those accused of violent felonies, particularly when they re-offend. They know damn well that judges are bound by the Code of Judicial conduct and no judge can comment and defend themselves on any pending case or even make any kind of an attempt to publicly defend themselves in the court of public opinion.

In August, 2021, District Attorney Raul Torrez, Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Medina, severely criticized judges after a homicide suspect escaped from a halfway house by cutting off his ankle bracelet. He was later arrested without incident. All 3 have been joined by the Governor to support a “rebuttable presumption against release” in crimes including first degree and second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and sexual exploitation of children.


On October 6, it was reported that Democrat Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez appeared before the Albuquerque Economic Forum to criticize the criminal justice system and proclaim that New Mexico has failed voters when it comes to bail bond reform.

EDITOR’S COMMENT: Albuquerque Economic Forum has been around for decades and many members consider themselves the “movers and shakers” of the business community. The Economic Forum is decisively Republican contributing to Republican candidates and usually oppose democrats and oppose minimum wage increases, unions and supporting right to work laws.

District Attorney Torrez told the Economic forum that he supports and is seeking support for legislation in the upcoming 2022 New Mexico legislature that would make it easier for judges to hold people awaiting trial for violent crimes such as murder and criminal sexual penetration. Torrez argued that the result is that violent offenders who use a firearm are released from jail while awaiting trial only to offend again before trial.

Torrez had this to say:

“I actually lose more detention cases when there’s a firearm involved than when a firearm is not involved. … It’s one of the more bizarre aspects of the system that we’ve created. … If you are in a community that is being rocked by gun violence, you should weigh heavily the presence of a firearm in making a detention decision.”

In support of his arguments, DA Torrez offered data statistics prepared by his office from January 2017 through September 2021 showing that judges were less likely to grant motions for pretrial detention in cases that involve a firearm. The statistics Torrez presented reveal in cases of people charged with a violent crime, state judges granted 51.7% of detention motions, but in violent crime cases involving a firearm, judges granted only 49.3% of motions.

DA Torrez told the Economic Forum that the New Mexico courts have been a failure in implementing bail bond reform. He said the intent and purpose of the constitutional amendment that gives judges authority to hold defendants awaiting trial if they are deemed a risk to public safety is simply not happening.

Torrez’s proposed legislation would create a “rebuttable presumption against release” in first- and second-degree murder cases, voluntary manslaughter, criminal sexual penetration and certain crimes against children. What Torrez failed to disclose was that what he wants is to shift the “burden of proof” from the state prosecutors who must now show that a charge defendant is dangerous and shift it to the defendant to show that he or she is not a danger and should be released pending trial.

Governor Lujan Grisham and Mayor Tim Keller have joined Torrez and many other DA’s in the state to support a change in the law during the 2022 legislative session.

The link to quoted source material is here:



This is not the first time that District Attorney Raul Torrez has attempted to shift the burden of proof in criminal prosecutions. He did so 3 years ago when he advocated a constitutional amendment to change the bail bond reform laws. It is also not the first time that Torrez has criticized the courts.

When DA Raul Torrez ran for Bernalillo County District Attorney the first time, he said our criminal justice system was broken and campaigned successfully saying he was the guy that could fix it. After being elected the first time, Torrez had his office prepare a report on the statistics regarding the number of felony cases that were being dismissed by the District Court. Torrez accused the District Courts of being responsible for the rise in crime and releasing violent offenders pending trial. The main points of the DA’s 2016 report were that defense attorneys were “gaming” the systems discovery deadlines, refusing to plead cases, demanding trials or dismissal of cases when not given evidence entitled to under the law.

The District Court did their own case review of statistics and found that it was the DA’s Office that was dismissing the majority of violent felony cases, not the courts. . Data given to the Supreme Court by the District court revealed overcharging and a failure to screen cases by the DA’s Office contributes to a combined 65% mistrial, acquittal and dismissal rate.


Torrez has also accused the District Court and the Supreme Court’s case management order (CMO) for being the root cause for the dramatic increase in crime and the dismissal of cases. The Supreme Court issued the order mandating disclosure of evidence within specific time frames and to expedite trial. Torrez challenged the case management order before the New Mexico Supreme Court and also took action against an individual judge claiming the judge was requiring too much evidence to prove that a defendant was too violent to be released with bond.


In mid-2015 the Bernalillo County 2nd District Court began shifting from grand jury use to implementing “preliminary hearing” schedule. Raul Torrez was sworn in as District Attorney on January 1, 2017 and from day one he opposed the shift to preliminary hearings. District Attorney Raul Torrez and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller wrote a joint letter to the New Mexico Supreme Court requesting it to intervene and stop the plans of 2nd Judicial District Court (SJDC) to shift away from the use of grand jury system to a preliminary hearing system.


The District Court provided an extensive amount of statistics, bar graphs and pie charts to the New Mexico Supreme Court to support the decision to shift from grand jury hearings to preliminary hearing showing it was necessary. The statistics revealed the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office under Raul Torrez had a 65% combined dismissal, acquittal and mistrial rate with cases charge by grand juries. The data presented showed in part how overcharging and a failure to screen cases by the District Attorney’s Office was contributing to the high mistrial and acquittal rates. The Supreme Court responded to the Torrez-Keller letter refusing to intervene but urging District Attorney Torrez to work with the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (BCCJCC) to resolve his concerns about ongoing cuts to the grand jury system


On October 10, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez gave a presentation to the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce making his case to keep more people accused of violent crimes behind bars. Torrez changed his tune from saying the “criminal justice system is broken” to now saying the “state’s pretrial detention system is broken.”

Torrez told the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce:

“My biggest goal is to get pretrial detention addressed and fixed. … The presence of a firearm actually lowers the rate at which we are successfully detaining people. Let me say that again, the presence of a firearm statistically lowers the rate of detention for individuals that we move to detain . .. That defies common sense, that defies basic logic.

Now, much has been made and there have been studies produced by the Administrative Office of the Courts, in an attempt to make the case that this system is working very well. .. But, more importantly and more troubling, is the assertion that only 5% of the individuals, who’ve been arrested, have been arrested on new violent offenses are therefore are not committing new crimes.
Relying on that statistic to make a claim that ‘the system is working’ hides a very important truth.”

Torrez pointed to national crime statistics that show most crimes, even violent crimes, do not get charged and he told the Chamber of Commerce:

“The court would have you believe that because individuals in our universe haven’t been arrested for those crimes, that they aren’t responsible for them, but that’s not a claim that any credible criminologist or statistician could reasonably make.”



The New Mexico judiciary is strongly disputing critics like Torrez who are advocating “rebuttable presumption against release” pending trial and citing research that shows only a small minority of defendants commit crimes while free pending trial.

On September 15, the Administrative Office of the Courts issued the results of a report to take sharp issue with recent proposals to change the bail bond system. The study was conducted by the University of New Mexico (UNM). The report supports the proposition that the existing system does not endanger the public. The UNM study reviewed 10,289 Bernalillo County felony cases from July 2017 to March 2020 in which defendants were released from jail while awaiting trial. The statistical findings were decisive and reported as follows:

Of the cases analyzed, only 13 were arrested for a first-degree felony while on pretrial release, or about 0.1% of the total.

19% of felony defendants released from jail pending trial, 1,951 of 10,289, were arrested for new criminal activity during the pretrial period. Most of those arrests were for fourth-degree felonies and misdemeanors, including property, drug and violent crimes.

Fewer than 5% of defendants, or up to 480, released pretrial were arrested for new violent crimes. Of the cases analyzed, 95.3% were not arrested for violent crimes during the pretrial period.
Artie Pepin, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, had this to say about the study:

“The evidence from research clearly shows that the great majority of people released pending trial are not committing new crimes. … Objective research validates the pretrial justice improvements under way in New Mexico. Blaming judges and courts for crimes highlighted in news accounts does nothing to make anyone safer.”

Not at all surprising is that Jennifer Burrill, president-elect of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association had this to say about the “rebuttable presumption against release”:

“That basically means [the Governor, the Mayor and DAs] are sacrificing … constitutional rights for their own political career. … We continue to ask the Legislature to make sure whatever decisions are made are based on evidence and not some kind of knee-jerk reaction, because that does not make the problem better. … That’s the same thing that we need to ask of our leaders on this situation.”

The link to quoted source material is here:



Over the last 5 years since the passage of bail bond reform there has been a dramatic shift in public opinion and public demand that those accused of violent crimes be detained without bond, at least that is the case in the city of Albuquerque.

On October 29, the Albuquerque Journal released a poll conducted as part of its 2021 election coverage. One line of polling related to changes to the bail bond system. The highlights of the poll as reported by the Journal are as follows:

“A large majority of Albuquerque voters support changes to state law that would make it easier for people accused of certain crimes to be held in jail until trial …

… 77% of likely city voters favor the change.

Support is strongest among voters who identify themselves as conservative and Republican, but support cuts across all groups.

Among Republican voters, 86% support holding defendants charged with certain crimes.

[Among Democrat voters] … 71% of Democrats support the change.

… only 11% oppose it [reflecting that” among all voters polled, supporters of tougher pretrial detention laws outnumbered opponents 7 to 1.”

The poll results reflect public concern about crime, which two-thirds of city voters – 66% – identified as the biggest issue facing Albuquerque residents … ,

Support was weakest among self-identified liberal voters, and young voters. But even among these groups, sizable majorities said they supported tougher pretrial detention laws.

Among liberal voters, 60% said they support the move, and 18% oppose.

Among those 18 to 34, 62% expressed support and 25% oppose.

Support strengthened with each successive age group, with 81% of voters 65 and older expressing support, and just 5% opposed.”



According to advocates of a rebuttable presumption, the cases where a defendant would be required to show they do not pose a threat to public and should be released pending their trial would include “the most violent and serious cases”. Those cases would include murder, first-degree sexual assault, human trafficking, first-degree robbery, crimes involving a firearm and defendants who are on supervision or parole for another felony. Such a shift of burden of the burden of proof could conceivably require a defendant to take the stand during a detention hearing before their trial and waive their 5th Amendment Constitutional Right against self-incrimination.

The biggest problem with “rebuttable presumption” being advocated by DA Torrez and others is that it undermines and is an affront to the most basic constitutional right guaranteed by the United States constitution which is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Further, in our criminal justice system, both state and federal, it is the prosecution that has the burden of proof to present evidence to convict a person. The rebuttable presumption shifts the burden of proving dangerousness from the prosecution to the defendant accused of certain crimes to show and convince a judge that they should be released on bond with conditions of release pending their trial on the charges.


The criminal justice system is only as good as those responsible to make it work. When stakeholders such as District Attorney Raul Torrez say the criminal justice system is broken, they are refusing to admit they are the cause of the crisis. They are failing to do their jobs in an effective, competent manner endangering public safety.

The DA’s office currently has the highest voluntary dismissal rate in its history, and plea agreements with low penalties are the norm. Now that Torrez is running for New Mexico Attorney General, he is once again reverting back to his old habits of criticizing the courts to gain a political advantage. Making a presentation before the Economic Forum was nothing more than a pathetic attempt to fund raise by once again attacking the courts, especially when he fails to make a full disclosure of what he is really up to which is to make his job a lot easier by shifting the burden of proof in criminal cases to the defense.

In the context of “rebuttable presumption of being violent” to hold an accused pending trial, it would be wise to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin:

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

A link to a related blog article is here: