District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies
DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE NEWS
Beginning Monday, Feb. 15, the Office of the First Judicial District Attorney will offer expanded diversion programs through the Santa Fe County Drug Court. The diversions can occur before a defendant enters a plea, after conviction but before sentencing, or after conviction and sentencing. Defendants who have a substance use disorder and no prior felony convictions will be eligible for diversion. This expansion opens up myriad opportunities for diversion in Santa Fe County.
“Therapeutically and clinically this model will be more effective at getting help to a wider range of people, rather than solely a post conviction and post sentence model,” said District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
Drug court programs are backed by extensive evidence, lowering rates of recidivism and significantly reducing costs to the public.
“I’m thrilled that we will be able to ensure that those who struggle with problematic drug use and its consequences have an option for treatment rather than incarceration. We know that we cannot incarcerate our way out of a substance abuse epidemic. Diversion programs keep communities safe,” said Carmack-Altwies.
The policy was developed in collaboration with Judge Mary Marlowe Summer, First Judicial District Staff Counsel Michael Nunez, Assistant District Attorney Russell Warren, and public defenders Brad Kerwin and Julie Ball.
In addition to expanding diversion programs, the Office of the District Attorney is partnering with the University of New Mexico School of Law to offer assistance with record expungement. Attorneys with the Office of the District Attorney will support members of the public who wish to have criminal records expunged pursuant to state law by facilitating the expungement process.
“The expungement process can be an obstacle in the lives of members of our community who have paid their debt to society, and we appreciate the opportunity to assist in expunging records pursuant to state law,” said Carmack-Altwies.