New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez Files Lawsuit Against Second Judicial District Court for IPRA Violations

Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Raúl Torrez filed a lawsuit against the Second Judicial District Court (SJDC) for violating the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA). This lawsuit arises from the court’s refusal to provide critical public records requested by journalists, essential for evaluating the effectiveness of court-ordered location monitoring of criminal defendants.

“Public safety is the most important issue in our state and citizens have a right to know if pretrial services are an effective alternative to detention, especially when judges choose to release violent offenders over the objection of police and prosecutors,” said AG Torrez. “No branch of government, not even the judicial branch, is allowed to operate without accountability, especially when individuals like Devin Munford are allowed to roam the streets of our community.”

“If pretrial supervision is as reliable as proponents argue, then they should have no objection to legitimate requests from the media about how well the system is working,” Torrez added. “Refusing to turn over the information only raises new questions that we should all demand answers to.”

IPRA mandates that the citizen’s right to know is the rule, and that secrecy should only be an exception. This level of accountability extends to all branches of government, including institutions that oversee criminal defendants’ compliance with court-ordered conditions of release.

Despite these foundational principles, SJDC recently denied two separate public records requests from journalists seeking documents related to the efficacy of court-ordered location monitoring of criminal defendants. These denials obstruct public scrutiny and accountability, particularly concerning the pretrial supervision of criminal defendants. The public has a vested interest in understanding the effectiveness of these government operations, especially with the continuing development of the state’s bail reform.

The withheld information is critical for the public to assess whether conditions of release protect community safety, how pretrial services enforce these conditions, and how they respond to violations. The transparency of these operations is vital to public safety, particularly after the 2016 constitutional amendment empowering the judiciary to detain dangerous defendants pending trial.

The SJDC’s refusal to comply with IPRA not only violates the principles of open government but also jeopardizes public safety. This legal action seeks to enforce compliance with IPRA and to ensure that the public remains informed about the operations of its government, particularly in matters affecting community safety.

The filed complaint is attached here.