While many states are moving toward criminal justice reforms, New Mexico is hearkening to the ’90s with tough talk about longer sentences, says the NM Political Report. Next week, state lawmakers will hear testimony on a bill to add crimes to the state’s three-strikes law, which imposes mandatory life sentences on repeat felons. The political initiative springs largely from May’s fatal shooting of a police officer by a career felon in the Albuquerque suburb of Rio Rancho.
“We are the last in our region in criminal justice reform,” said state Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque. Until recently, Maestas co-chaired a legislative subcommittee devoted to justice reforms. Two bills endorsed by the subcommittee passed the Legislature. One sought to limit probation periods while the other would have allowed nonviolent convicts to spend their last year of incarceration in a halfway house. Gov. Susana Martinez, a former prosecutor, vetoed both measures, and Maestas’ reform subcommittee was disbanded.