In this inaugural issue of my "newsblog" I want to explore one of the most pressing issues I see in our community.
I've committed my career to fighting for justice and to keep our community safe. In 22 years as a prosecutor and two years as a victims’ rights attorney I have seen and prosecuted the gamut of criminal cases from misdemeanor shoplifting, DWI, and domestic violence to murder, child abuse and sexual assault. I have seen the impact these crimes have on the victims, the families, and the community. I have also seen what works and what doesn’t work. I believe there are two levels of the revolving door issue that must be addressed to make our community safer.
There is no question that drug and alcohol addiction underlies a large portion of the crimes that are committed. That is not to say that this should be an excuse to allow individuals to escape responsibility. Make no mistake, I have no tolerance for those who prey on the weak and vulnerable and who use violence against their victims. But there are many low level offenders who keep cycling in and out of the system because they have never been shown or given different and better options. I have many ideas to address this issue and it involves working with all of the different leaders that serve our community to find creative, effective solutions. It requires a comprehensive education and community outreach program to teach children that there are better, attainable options for them. It involves implementing diversion programs and specialty courts that address the specific issues that different groups have. For example, veterans—particularly combat veterans—very often have PTSD which can lead to a variety of problems, such as domestic violence, drug abuse, homelessness and run-ins with the law that cannot be dealt with effectively in the cookie cutter, one size fits all criminal justice system that we currently have. Similarly, we have the largest number of Native American communities in the State. There are very real cultural factors that must be considered when fashioning solutions to fighting crime and fighting for victims amongst those populations. I will continue to build strong partnerships with community leaders to address these issues by thinking outside the box. Because of my community involvement, I have already built alliances with many leaders such as law enforcement, the judiciary, the defense bar, local businesses, educators, legislators, Mayors, county commissioners and city councilors. I have also worked extensively with other elected District Attorneys and will continue to do so to develop creative solutions to fighting for justice in our community.
With your help, we can and will close the revolving door of crime and make our community the safest in New Mexico!