District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies claims the goal is reconciliation between suspects and those affected by alleged crimes.
The decision by District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, who serves a three-county region that includes Santa Fe, is part of a concept called “restorative justice,” the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported.
Carmack-Altwies wants seven of the eight defendants to enter a pre-prosecution probation program, calling their case – that they allegedly destroyed a 152-year-old obelisk last October – “a political problem that got forced upon the criminal justice system,” the newspaper reported.
But her critics include former Santa Fe City Council member Ron Trujillo, who called the DA’s plan “a crock of crap,” according to the newspaper.
“What a crock of crap that these people who were involved in vandalizing city property technically get off with a slap on the wrist,” Trujillo told the newspaper last week.
“All this time there was talk about justice, justice will come, these people will be held accountable. Where’s the accountability? They’re not being held accountable.”
Another critic – Virgil Vigil, head of a local fraternal organization – referred to Carmack-Altwies and Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber as “out-of-town transplants” who “don’t care about our people and our culture.”
The seven defendants targeted for probation would hold that status for six months to two years and perform 40 hours of community service – as well as be required to write a letter admitting their role in toppling the obelisk, according to the newspaper.
The DA noted that the seven defendants were all first-time offenders and would likely not face jail time anyway if convicted at a trial, the report said.