The New Mexico judge who is overseeing the case against five alleged Muslim extremists arrested at their Taos, New Mexico, compound last week has intimated that prosecutors in the case are discriminating against the defendants for their faith, in her granting of bail to the five defendants accused of horrible crimes.
All five — two men and three women — are charged with 11 counts of felony child abuse after 11 emaciated children were found in filthy conditions surrounded by guns on the Amalia, New Mexico compound — and one small deceased child was found buried on the property.
The defendants, Siraj Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, Jany Leveille, Subhannah Wahhaj, and Lucas Morten, are also accused of training children to conduct school shootings.
Incredibly, Judge Sarah Backus granted release Monday to each of the defendants on a $20,000 “signature bond,” allowing them to avoid paying any money — unless they violate their release terms.
In explaining her decision, Backus wrote that the state of New Mexico “apparently expected the court to take the individuals’ faith into account” in determining whether or not these defendants were a danger to the community, multiple outlets including The Washington Post reported.
“The defendants are apparently of the Muslim faith,” read the order. “The court was asked by the state to make a finding of dangerousness and a finding of no conditions of release could ensure the safety of the community. The state apparently expected the court to take the individuals’ faith into account in making such a determination. The court has never been asked to take any other person’s faith into account in making a determination of dangerousness. The court is not aware of any law that allows the court to take a person’s faith into consideration in making a dangerousness determination.”
She also noted, “The state alleges there was a big plan afoot, but the state has not shown to my satisfaction by clear and convincing evidence what in fact that plan was. The state wants me to make a leap and it’s a large leap and that would be to hold people in jail without bond based on — again — troubling facts, but I didn’t hear any choate plan that was being alleged by the state.”
While recent amendments passed by New Mexico voters on the subject of bail have been mentioned as a reason for the baffling judicial decision and subsequent defendant release, the voters in fact passed this amendment in addition to others that are more restrictive on denial of bail: “Bail may be denied by a court of record pending trial for a defendant charged with a felony if the prosecuting authority requests a hearing and proves by clear and convincing evidence that no release conditions will reasonably protect the safety of any other person or the community. An appeal from an order denying bail shall be given preference over all other matters.”
The judge has reportedly received death threats due to her decision.
A New Mexico district courthouse was reportedly evacuated Tuesday after multiple threats were received regarding Judge Backus, USA Today reported.
Eleven mistreated children and a small child’s buried body aren’t enough, apparently, to convince this judge that these defendants — charged with felony child abuse — deserve to be denied bail in the most recent twist in this troubling case.
Watch the video below about these recent developments in the case.