Roundup from the Roundhouse from Monday. This information comes from the New Mexico House Republican Caucus:
Legislation to Give Judges Full Criminal Histories of Violent Offenders Passes House Floor
Santa Fe, NM – Today, legislation that would give judges access to the full criminal histories of violent repeat offenders passed the House of Representatives. The bill, HB 72, is sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry and passed on a unanimous vote of 65-0. It is also referred to as Jaydon’s Law, named after an Albuquerque teen who was gunned down during a drive-by shooting while at a house party.
“It’s important that judges have all of the facts when making pre-trial and sentencing decisions,” said Gentry. “Today we are one step closer to solving part of New Mexico’s crime problem. I urge the Senate to act on this bill quickly to give our judges the information they need to help protect our communities.”
Current law prohibits judges from considering the juvenile record of an adult offender during bond and sentencing decisions. Jaydon’s Law would change the Criminal Procedure Act to allow judges to review an adult defendant’s prior record as a youth offender. It will also give judges access to other information, such as evidence presented during past hearings for youth offenses.
The bill would not apply to juvenile offenses committed prior to the age of 14 or to juvenile delinquent offenses. It is targeted specifically at older juveniles found guilty of committing serious violent youth offenses such as second degree murder, aggravated battery, and rape.
Nicole Chavez, the mother of Jaydon Chavez-Silver, issued the following statement on Gentry’s bill:
“I’m very happy to see that it passed the House with another unanimous vote. I am hopeful that it goes through the Senate the same way with no roadblocks in the system. I want to thank Rep. Nate Gentry for helping pass this bill to make our community safer.”
House Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Allow Local Governments to Implement Curfews
Santa Fe, NM – Today, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry and Democrat Rep. Carl Trujillo that would allow local governments to impose curfews on minors under the age of 16 from midnight to 5 a.m. passed the House Floor by a 44-21 vote. The bill, HB 29, is also supported by Albuquerque Westside City Councilor Ken Sanchez.
“Nothing good happens to children who are out unsupervised late at night,” Gentry said. “This proposal will help protect our children from dangerous situations and keep violence out of our neighborhoods in the early morning hours.”
The legislation is a response to recent violent incidents involving minors. Last June, Steven Gerecke was gunned down in his driveway by six minors at 3 a.m. One month later, a 14-year-old student, Isaiah Albright, was shot and killed around 2 a.m. at Pat Hurley Park on Albuquerque’s Westside by another minor.
Currently, law enforcement has little authority to detain children who are out during school hours or at night without reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed. This bill would allow officers to detain minors, and it would provide guidelines on how law enforcement should handle children who are caught violating a curfew. The legislation would prohibit children from being placed in secure settings for violating a curfew.
The bill will also provide a variety of exemptions for children who have reason to be out during the regulated times, such as participating in a school function, attending an event with their parent or guardian, or attending a civic or religious function. This legislation excludes emancipated youth from its provisions.
The family of Steven Gerecke issued the following statement on Gentry’s bill:
“I want to thank Rep. Nate Gentry for taking up our cause and helping to make New Mexico safe,” Heather Alter, step-daughter of Steven Gerecke
“I’m very pleased that there were enough votes to move the bill along. I want to thank Rep. Nate Gentry and all the people who have helped him craft and refine this bill,” Vinnie Gerecke, widow of Steve Gerecke.
Bipartisan Legislation to Include DWI Felonies in NM Habitual Offender Law Passes Judiciary Committee
Santa Fe, NM – Today, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines that would allow judges to impose stricter penalties on DWI felons passed the House Judiciary Committee today by a vote of 9-1. The bill, HB 82, would expand New Mexico’s Habitual Offender law to include DWI felonies.
“It is imperative that we get drunk drivers off of New Mexico roads,” said Dines. “By expanding the Habitual Offender law to include DWI felonies, we will protect New Mexico families from repeat DWI offenders.”
A DWI offense can be deemed a felony after the fourth conviction. Currently, individuals convicted of a DWI felony are exempted from the stricter penalties provided for in the Habitual Offender law. The legislation sponsored by Dines would make repeat drunk drivers eligible for sentencing under the Habitual Offender law.
Bill to Increase Penalties for Repeat DWI Offenders Passes House Judiciary
Santa Fe, NM – Today, legislation to crack down on repeat DWI offenders by increasing penalties for fourth and subsequent DWI offenses passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 7-4 vote. House Bill 83 is sponsored by Representatives Sarah Maestas Barnes and Rod Montoya.
“We need tougher DWI laws in order to protect New Mexicans from drunk drivers,” Maestas Barnes said. “This bill would keep repeat DWI offenders from getting behind the wheel, making the roads safer for New Mexicans.”
According to recent statistics, New Mexico ranks near the bottom when it comes to the strictness of its laws and the strength of its criminal penalties. The proposal offered by Maestas Barnes and Montoya would increase the punishment for individuals convicted of four to seven DWIs by adding an addition year to their sentences. It also includes a provision to qualify an eighth DWI conviction as a second-degree felony, which would make the offender eligible for a 12-year sentence.
In addition, the legislation would elevate homicide or great bodily harm by a vehicle while under the influence from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony, allowing for judges to sentence offenders to additional incarceration.