Supreme Court Affirms Judge’s Pretrial Release Ruling For Teenager


The state Supreme Court on Friday affirmed a 2nd Judicial District Court  judge’s ruling allowing a teenager accused of multiple home burglaries to await trial under strict  conditions of release on house arrest.  

The Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office asked the court to reconsider the pretrial  detention of Jesse Mascareno-Haidle, 19, after failing twice to convince two judges to hold him  in jail pending his trial. The prosecutor’s office claims that Mr. Mascareno-Haidle is a suspect in  around 80 burglaries, but has only charged him with three alleged incidents. 

“Every district court judge who has looked at this case and seen the evidence presented has  agreed that Jesse can safely stay in the community while he awaits his trial,” said attorney Noah  Gelb. “Under the state and federal constitutions, Jesse is presumed innocent. He hasn’t gone to  trial yet. This case shows that judges can make decisions that protect the community and  safeguard individual liberty.”  

A constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 2016 allows prosecutors to attempt to detain a  defendant charged with a felony if prosecutors can prove the person is dangerous to the  community or others and that no conditions of release can preserve safety. District judges in  Albuquerque grant about 50% of the prosecutor requests for pretrial detention — and last year  the DA’s Office later declined to even prosecute 20% of those cases. Recidivism rates for people  who have been released are very low, especially for violent crime. A UNM Institute of Social  Research study found that more than 4 out of 5 defendants were not arrested for a crime while on  pretrial release and 96% percent were not accused of a violent crime. Of all 6,392 defendants  released during the time of this study, only 12 were arrested for a first-degree felony during their  release period.  

While judges cannot be expected to predict the future 100% of the time, the system we have is  intentionally flexible so that we balance public safety risks against the serious harm done by  incarcerating innocent or non-dangerous New Mexicans based on unproven accusations.