In response to the Dec. 24 editorial column “Christmas In Jail” and in regard to the procedural pariah of “speedy trail,” I am appalled at the amazement.
Mr. Gilberto Reyes is not the lone nonviolent offender in the San Miguel County Jail for the holidays and surely not the sole undertaker of a year-plus duration. It is common knowledge and well accepted by all in the justice system that a speedy trail is a picayune priority. It can still be achieved by simply printing and filing a motion by the representing attorney, but for Mr. Reyes certainly the window period in which to file has long surpassed. Though Amendment VI guarantees the right to a speedy and public trail, the insouciance of Mr. Ben Mondragon cannot be individually castigated since it is common practice by all court-appointed public defenders to neglect to submit a motion for speedy trail.
Mr. Reyes is a Dominican national (which should not deprive him of this right) but I know of a variety of American citizens from all walks of life who have rotted away in the San Miguel County Detention Center for years at a time. Ultimately some were found to be innocent, some guilty, but most importantly the precious irreplaceable time was always overlooked and being lost altogether.
It is the assumption of the justice system and especially our Fourth Judicial District attorneys that anyone incarcerated (unable to make bail) is therefore guilty and will do time. As expressed with an audacious, fearless flair on the record in not this specific case by Chief District Attorney Richard Flores, who said, “with every day that passes that he continues to spend in county time, that’s one day less that he has to do at the Department of Corrections, SO.” This was stated by Mr. Flores prior to trial or foundation of guilt, mind you. Our district attorneys these days in San Miguel County are not in the business of protecting a suspect’s right (which is one of the offices’ duties as the editorial pointed out) but more so to warehouse nonviolent drug offenders in their relentless effort to keep up a quota of convictions.
Look, reader, do you seriously believe that the incarceration of Mr. Reyes and his like (for drug offenders) have significantly impacted the only current viable economy, the narcotic economy? The root cause (addiction) has yet to be addressed wholeheartedly. Shouldn’t his cell be occupied by someone dangerous to society or do you sincerely feel more secure with Mr. Reyes in the county jail endlessly? Our Sixth Amendment is being continuously trampled, and a wise man once said, “Those who will sacrifice freedom and their rights for a sense of security will eventually lose both, and deserve neither.”
Can you bring yourself to accept these facts and in turn be energized to make a change in our community for the betterment of our people? Please wake up.
Las Cruces, N.M.