New Mexico ex rel. Torrez v. WhitakerAnnotate this Case
In this case, the New Mexico Supreme Court was asked to address the nature of evidentiary presentation required by the new detention authority approved by the New Mexico Legislature in February 2016 and passed by New Mexico voters in the November 2016 general election. The Court agreed with courts in all other federal and state bail reform jurisdictions that have considered the same issues, and held that the showing of dangerousness required by the new constitutional authority was not bound by formal rules of evidence but instead focuses on judicial assessment of all reliable information presented to the court in any format worthy of reasoned consideration. "The probative value of the information, rather than the technical form, is the proper focus of the inquiry at a pretrial detention hearing." In most cases, credible proffers and other summaries of evidence, law enforcement and court records, or other nontestimonial information should be sufficient support for an informed decision that the state either has or has not met its constitutional burden. But the Supreme Court also agreed with other jurisdictions that a court necessarily retains the judicial discretion to find proffered or documentary information insufficient to meet the constitutional clear and convincing evidence requirement in the context of particular cases.