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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rep. Moe Maestas: Refocus Our Energy and Resources on Fighting Violent Crime

HMAES State Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas (D-Albuquerque) introduced two bills on the House floor late Friday in an effort to change the way the State of New Mexico fights crime. The proposed bills work to refocus resources on fighting the most violent crimes in New Mexico. House Bill 464 creates tougher homicide sentences, while House Bill 463 will eliminate thousands of misdemeanor traffic cases statewide freeing up resources to fund the enforcement of House Bill 464.

"We have to start looking at the fight against crime through a new lens. It's time to refocus our energy and resources on fighting violent crime in New Mexico and not wasting our courts' precious resources on unnecessary misdemeanor traffic proceedings," Rep. Maestas said. "We have to be smarter, leaner and more efficient."

House Bill 464 increases the maximum sentences that may be imposed for homicides in New Mexico. The maximum sentence for second degree murder would be increased from 15 years to 20 years in prison, voluntary manslaughter would increase from 6 years to 10 years and involuntary manslaughter would increase from 18 months to 3 years.

"Preventing violent crime has to be the overwhelming priority in New Mexico. Homicides are unique in that the defendant can never make things right again for the victims, therefore they must have the harshest penalties on the books," Maestas explained. "It's no secret that resources are scarce, but by saving money through the reduction of misdemeanor traffic cases we can fund our core mission of combating violent crimes such as homicide."

House Bill 463 will prevent the Department of Motor Vehicles from suspending an individual's driver's license after missing traffic court. A bench warrant is sufficient to discourage people from failing to appear in court, and the suspension of a license in addition to the bench warrant is contributing to an already overburdened criminal justice system. The savings incurred from streamlining this process will more than pay for the appropriated cost of enforcing the homicide sentence bill.

"Smart government is good government. We must eliminate inefficient and unnecessary state practices and use our resources more effectively to address the major challenges facing our state such, as violent crime." said Rep. Maestas. "By better utilizing the courts' time and resources we can begin to take a tougher stand against violent criminals and prevent the devastation that homicides cause to families and communities."

February 15, 2011 at 12:23 PM in Crime, NM Legislature 2011 | Permalink

Comments

Kill this bill. It is show casing. Longer sentencing will not deter homicide. Nor will "tougher" longer sentencing make violent offenders less violent.
Easing the traffic court may save time and resources but what about wasting money on non-violent drug offenses?
I can't say that I am much impressed with the mentality.
Stop wasting time trying to make yourself look good and get to work protecting the water and air in this state. Go after the real looters that harm countless people with corruption and greed and short sighted profit.
What are you going to do about the economy and employment? What about the long term well being of our children?
This bill is worthless.

Posted by: qofdisks | Feb 15, 2011 3:30:18 PM

I agree on the bill to clear up the traffic thing but not on the longer sentencing. Longer sentences do nothing to deter crime and we can't afford to pay for all that jail time. Take the money saved and use it on rehab for prisoners and help getting them jobs after they get out. Then you would be doing something positive.

Posted by: Erin | Feb 15, 2011 4:22:47 PM