Two New Mexico state Senators filed a motion in their ongoing legal battle with the City of Albuquerque regarding the city’s practice of seizing cars after DWI arrests but before convictions. The Institute for Justice filed the motion on behalf of Sens. Lisa Torraco, R-Albuquerque, and Daniel Ivey Soto, D-Albuquerque, and asked district court judge to expedite a ruling based solely on the law. “It basically says we don’t need to do any discovery,” Ivey Soto told NM Political Report on Wednesday. “So, we’re saying, ‘Judge, read the law.’”
The referenced law is one that Gov. Susana Martinez signed in 2015 with the intention of ending the practice of taking personal assets before a conviction.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and The Charles Koch Institute, two groups that arguably have differing opinions on many things, appeared on the same same stage in Albuquerque on Wednesday to discuss civil asset forfeiture. New Mexico famously ended the practice of civil asset forfeiture earlier this year. Representatives from the two groups, along with a criminal defense attorney and a former director of the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Office, discussed the importance of reforming states’ laws regarding asset forfeiture. Moderated by Paul Gessing, the director of the free market think tank Rio Grande Foundation, the panel discussed how New Mexico recently passed a law to change how and why law enforcement is allowed to take property. One particularly interesting member of the panel was Brad Cates, a former prosecutor, New Mexico lawmaker and one of the people responsible for creating a law that allowed police to seize property without a conviction or even an arrest.
[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]PAUL GESSING is president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation, an independent, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility.[/box]
They say it’s better to be lucky than good. Of course, it’s even better to be lucky and good! That is exactly what happened in New Mexico during the 2015 legislative session with regard to reforming the process of civil asset forfeiture. To recap, during the 2015 legislative session, New Mexico’s deeply-divided Legislature unanimously supported significant reforms to the State’s civil asset forfeiture laws. That bill was signed by Governor Susana Martinez, a former prosecutor.
After almost six hours of questions, public comment and some heated debate, a House committee voted on Friday night to send right-to-work legislation to the House floor. The committee voted on party lines, with seven Republicans voting to pass the legislation and six Democrats voting against. The House Judiciary committee voted to pass the bill on a party line vote. The final version of HB 75 included an increase to the minimum wage, as part of a substitute bill introduced by Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque. Gentry’s substitute kept the original bill, but added language that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to $8.00 an hour.