A former Democratic political operative filed a request earlier this month asking a federal judge to dismiss evidence related to child pornography charges. An attorney for Jason Loera filed a motion claiming federal agents violated his fourth amendment by not following search warrant procedures. The motion comes just as the the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Loera with additional child pornography charges, bringing the total to six. Jerry Walz, Loera’s attorney, filed a motion asking the court to reconsider a previous denial to suppress evidence because agents did not stop an initial search after discovering child pornography electronically stored. Initially, agents were searching Loera’s records for any evidence of stolen emails or computer fraud as part of the federal case into stolen campaign emails from the 2010 Susana Martinez gubernatorial campaign.
One of the session’s most scrutinized measures came to an unlikely topic—child pornography. The bill, carried primarily by Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Albuquerque, soared through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives fairly quickly. That version allowed charges for possession of each individual photo, with a maximum of 18 months for each charge. Some argued this could result in charges of harsher penalties for possessing the images or videos than the creation of the images or videos. But things got heated in the Democratic-controlled Senate as disputes over the bill arose on bipartisan levels.
A highly charged and emotional Senate passed legislation increasing penalties for possession, manufacturing and distribution of child pornography Wednesday night. Update: Early Thursday morning the House voted to pass the Senate version and sent the legislation to the governor. While the bill itself passed unanimously and without any debate, the major flash point came after a proposed amendment by Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque. Moores requested unanimous consent to allow two expert witnesses on the floor, something that happens extremely frequently. This time, however, Sen. Lisa Torraco, R-Albuquerque, objected.
—In an apparent protest to a memorial highlighting fair pay for women, two House Republicans left the floor during a vote on the legislation. Memorials do not enact any law, but are generally used to draw attention to a person or organization. House Memorial 39, sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, declared today Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Day in honor of Lilly Ledbetter, a women’s equality activist and namesake of the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. After Rep. Debbie Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, introduced the memorial in Chasey’s absence, Armstrong requested the House vote unanimously on the memorial, a common occurrence for this type of legislation. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, objected to voting unanimously and requested a roll-call vote, most likely to show who did or did not vote.