Alarming number of suspects are no shows at court

 Albuquerque police say a man shot and killed two guys over a bag of chips and water. 

Turns out that suspect was recently busted for another crime, got out of jail, then blew off his court dates. Target 7 found out hundreds of people charged with felonies are blowing off the courts too. 

Police say James Chavez had just swiped a bag of chips and water from an Albuquerque convenience store. When the two men escorted him off the property, he shot them. Target 7 found out APD had just busted Chavez in November on charges of auto theft and drugs, records show. 

Court records show he got out of jail and was supposed to be on court supervision, but was a no show. KOAT found out he’s far from the only one missing court. 

We checked with metro court. A spokeswoman says about 3,800 people were busted for felonies last year and got out of jail. They were supposed to be under supervision but 1/3 were no shows. 

“This of course is the nightmare the judicial system didn’t want to see because they tried to implement these new rules, which generally are in line with what’s going on around the country,” said KOAT legal expert John Day. 

Those new rules kicked in in Bernalillo County about a year and a half ago, and were mandated by the New Mexico Supreme Court. The local courts now use a public safety assessment tool, a math calculation, to try and predict whether someone will show back up to court. 

The intention was to basically eliminate the bail bond system. A lot of people believe bonds are skewed in favor of people who have money and can afford to get lawyers, pay a bond, and get out of jail. 

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