Attorney General Raúl Torrez Urges Second Judicial District Court to Turn Over Public Records About Violations of Pretrial Supervision


Albuquerque, NM – Attorney General Raúl Torrez has urged the Second Judicial District Court to correct an apparent violation of the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) arising from its recent denial of a request for GPS alerts and notifications for defendants under the supervision of the Court’s Pretrial Services Division (PTS). The IPRA request at issue, originally sent to the Second Judicial District Court by Larry Barker, an investigative reporter with KRQE News 13, sought to explore the effectiveness of the court’s pretrial services, a matter of significant concern in New Mexico. The improper denial of the request from a member of the media prevents the public’s access to information about the affairs of government. Denials should therefore only occur when there is a clear, established exception to public inspection.

Mr. Barker requested, among other things, alerts from GPS devices to pretrial services and notifications from pretrial services to the court and the District Attorney. He did not request location data or private information, such as medical records. Nevertheless, the denial of his request was based on a New Mexico Supreme Court Order implementing NMSA 1978, § 31-3-12 (2022). This statute, however, only exempts “global positioning system data” from inclusion as a public record and sets forth the requirements for law enforcement agencies seeking to access that information. It does not cloak pretrial services in secrecy or authorize the courts to exempt all pretrial services records from inspection by the public.

The public’s right to know about the effectiveness of pretrial services and the number of violations of conditions of release is exemplified by the pretrial supervision of Devin Munford. Testimony during his trial revealed a staggering number of GPS violations. The PTS officer testified that there were over 100 GPS violations by Devin Munford in the lead up to the murder of Devon Heyborne – none of the violations were acted upon. Public scrutiny and accountability of the court’s pretrial supervision could prevent similar tragedies.

“There is no more urgent issue facing our community than the problem of violent crime. The public must have the information about how dangerous defendants, like Devin Munford, are being supervised when they are not detained pretrial,” said Attorney General Torrez. “At a time when New Mexico has one of the highest rates of violent crime, how can the public have confidence in this process and how can policy makers know that the system is working, if journalists are denied access to basic information about who’s violating their conditions of release?”

The letter addressed to the Second Judicial District Court’s IPRA Custodian gave a deadline of May 15, 2024, for the production of the denied records for the court to avoid further enforcement action. The letter to the court is linked below.

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