This afternoon the New Mexico Supreme Court granted the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s petition for a writ of superintending control, directing the district court to remand Jerome Gutierrez back into custody until his next detention hearing. Gutierrez is charged with second degree murder of his wife Kristy Rivera in May this year. Our office filed a Motion to Detain Gutierrez due to the nature of his crime and the danger he poses to society. However, District Court Judge Cindy Leos released Gutierrez without a hearing.
The pretrial detention rule requires the court to set a detention hearing. In this case, at an initial hearing, the defense attorney sought a continuance in order to have more time to prepare. The Judge initially said she would set the hearing once the parties indicated that they were ready. However, in a subsequent Order issued by a different judge, the Court stated that the Court would reset the hearing within sixty days, but never set the hearing. After 45 days without a hearing, on September 27th our office requested a hearing. At the hearing, which occurred on October 1st, the Judge did not explain why a hearing was not set or inquire why the defense failed to request one. Instead, the Judge released Guiterrez because the hearing had not taken place within sixty days. On October 6th, our office asked the Supreme Court to remand the defendant into custody under the pretrial detention rules.
“This sequence of events prior to Jerome Gutierrez being released were extraordinary as the court released Gutierrez without a hearing, which is a clear violation of the pretrial detention rule,” said Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez. “Because of the court going against its own rules, we filed an emergency petition to detain Gutierrez pending the next pretrial detention hearing. We are glad that the Supreme Court found that our petition was valid and will continue to file similar motions to keep our community safe. A dangerous defendant cannot be allowed to manufacture their release on a technicality.”