Legal expert discusses potential implications of Solomon Peña case

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — It has been a week since a former Republican political candidate, Solomon Peña, was taken into custody. Police say Peña planned and carried out violence against New Mexico state lawmakers.

He is scheduled to appear before a judge on Monday to see if he will be in jail before his trial.

Solomon Peña was a name in the headlines nationwide. He is accused of plotting to shoot the homes of local elected Democratic officials.

A criminal defense attorney we spoke to says this case could spark national change.

“This isn’t a new topic, is it?” said Jenn Burrill, president-elect of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Burrill speaks of violence against lawmakers. The case against Peña is just the most recent example.

According to the Albuquerque Police Department, he was behind the recent shootings at the homes of local politicians.

Burril says this case could make waves across the country.

“Okay, public records say she’s hers, do you know where she lives?”

Changing the way we can find information from officials.

“So I would assume that this could have some state implications for legislation,” Burrill said.

Pena will appear before a judge tomorrow to find out if he remains behind bars. If his case goes to court, Burrill says it might not happen in the metro area.

“I think you’re probably going to see a motion to change venues, meaning they would move the trial to a different location. You know, Albuquerque is the media center of the state,” Burrill said.

And since this case stems from what appears to be a deep political division, that complicates it even more.

“It’s actually a standard question on the jury questionnaire that people fill out. Some people respond to this, some don’t. But you can imagine that’s going to carry a lot of weight, especially with his ties to the former President, President Trump,” Burrill said.

So it would also be a challenge to find a jury.

“So I expect the jury’s choices in this case will be extensive for Mr. Peña. You know, sometimes courts can limit your questions to 15 minutes. I don’t see this here because there are so many problems. So in that case, too, I would assume we’d consider a week or two weeks for the jury,” Burrill said.