Newscity: Group Reviews Pretrial Detention Laws, Watchdog Group Reports On Lobbyists, Jaywalking Protesters Block Traffic

Group Reviews Pretrial Detention Laws

Joshua Lee
3 min read
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A task force created by the New Mexico Supreme Court to review the state’s pretrial release and detention program met last week for the first time.

According to
KOB, the group is made up of about 15 lawmakers and court officials, representing all three branches of government and headed by retired New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Edward Chávez. They are tasked with analyzing the state’s pretrial detention data and recommending any necessary changes.

“We are looking at potential court rule amendments,” said Chávez. “We are not looking at any constitutional amendments, and we’re also looking to see if, first, is there a problem and if so what in the rules can we do to remedy the problem.”

Last year, Sen. Jacob Candelaria—a member of the task force—sent a letter to the Supreme Court that blamed New Mexico’s crime rates on the state’s current pretrial detention program and on District Attorneys who do not seek pretrial detention for dangerous or repeat offenders.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reportedly criticized the group, saying that current rules protect citizens who have yet to be convicted of any crime from being held in detention.

The group will meet again in February and submit a report to the New Mexico Supreme Court by the end of March.

Newscity: Watchdog Group Reports On Lobbyists

A watchdog group has published a report naming the New Mexico lobbyists who have represented the most clients and spent the most money in 2019.

Last week, New Mexico Ethics Watch released “
Lobbyists and Their Outsized Influence in New Mexico.” The report focused on four industries that reportedly have influence over state and municipal lawmakers through lobbyists: cannabis, firearms, film and tobacco.

The group compiled the report using data supplied by the Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS), located on the
New Mexico Secretary of State website. It noted that the CFIS contains database errors and other shortcomings that need to be addressed by authorities. It also called for even more transparency when it comes to lobbyist expenditure and compensation reporting.

The report suggested a number of reforms, including putting legislators on salary—New Mexico is the only state with unpaid legislators—and banning the practice of allowing lobbyists to deliver meals to lawmakers during the legislative session.

Newscity: Jaywalking Protesters Block Traffic

Last week, protesters gathered to block traffic on Central Avenue and speak out against jaywalking tickets being issued in the ART lanes.

According to
KRQE, around a dozen people came together last week to voice their disapproval of Albuquerque Police Department officers issuing jaywalking tickets to pedestrians who illegally cross ART bus lanes. They say the officers are targeting low-income bus riders, and the $80 tickets are a financial burden to them. “We want lawmakers in this city—decision-makers—to call off the law enforcement officials that are harassing the vulnerable community in Albuquerque,” said advocate Selinda Guerrero.

There have reportedly only been two jaywalking tickets issued since ART buses began rolling near the end of last year.
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