Carmack-Altwies and Reeb will formally file charges with New Mexico’s First Judicial District Court before the end of the month. After filing charges, each defendant will be issued a summons with the charging information. Shortly after receiving the summons, each defendant must make a “first appearance,” a procedure often referred to in other jurisdictions as an arraignment. That first appearance can be done virtually, and defendants can even move to waive their first appearance. First appearance dates are set by the court, not by the District Attorney.
Given that the First Judicial District in New Mexico is only impaneling grand juries under certain circumstances due to ongoing COVID restrictions, the next step after the first appearance will be a preliminary hearing. In this process, a judge takes on the grand jury's role. The District Attorney and the special prosecutor present their case to the judge. The judge then rules whether there is probable cause to proceed with a trial. The court, not the District Attorney, will set the dates for a preliminary hearing. However, preliminary hearings are typically scheduled within 60 days of filing charges.
“There is a very clear process for pursuing justice in this case,” Carmack-Altwies said. “We are committed to upholding the integrity of that process to ensure equal justice under the law.”
Once charges are filed, more detailed paperwork will be available online through the court that details the evidence the DA and the special prosecutor cite. An announcement will be made to the public when the charges have formally been filed.
The District Attorney received the final Santa Fe County Sheriff’s report on October 27, 2022, and moved quickly to carefully and thoughtfully review the evidence, allowing the DA to make her decision on charges less than three months after receiving the initiating report.