A slide from a July 24, 2023 PowerPoint presentation by the UNM Department of Computer Science at the state Interim Committee on Science, Technology and Telecommunications.

‘The genie is out of the bottle.’ Federal, state officials discuss impacts of AI

Separating fact from fiction has become harder in the 21st century in part due to the proliferation of artificial intelligence and its current uses. Some people use AI to scam or trick their victims into seeing something that is not real but looks real enough so as to not be immediately questioned. Recently, AI was a topic discussed at the state level, by a U.S. Senate committee and the White House. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, and other senators introduced the Creating Resources for Every American to Experiment with Artificial Intelligence Act of 2023, known as the CREATE-AI Act

“We know that AI will be enormously consequential. If we develop and deploy this technology responsibly, it can help us augment our human creativity and make major scientific advances, while also preparing American workers for the jobs of the future.

How Jeff Sessions misrepresented the Trump administration’s expansion of military supplies for police

The Trump administration made false assertions to justify an executive order expanding police forces’ access to military equipment such as tanks and grenade launchers. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday that President Trump would make defensive gear available to police again by undoing a policy from the Obama administration. Trump then signed an executive order whose title emphasized that branding: “Restoring State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement’s Access to Life-Saving Equipment and Resources.”

“He is rescinding restrictions from the prior administration that limited your agencies’ ability to get equipment through federal programs, including life-saving gear like Kevlar vests and helmets and first-responder and rescue equipment like what they’re using in Texas right now,” Sessions said in the speech. But that’s not what the Obama administration’s restrictions did, according to documentation from a unit inside of Sessions’ own Justice Department, the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Kevlar vests were never subject to any restrictions.

NM still tops in nation for reliance on private prisons

New Mexico incarcerates a higher percentage of inmates in privately run, for-profit prisons than any other state, according to a new analysis from the Sentencing Project. It’s a designation New Mexico has held for many years. More than 42 percent of people imprisoned here were being held in one of the state’s five private prisons at the end of 2015, according to the analysis, which is based on figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Three of those prisons are operated by GEO Group, Inc.; Core Civic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) and Management and Training Corporation each run a prison in New Mexico as well. This story originally appeared in New Mexico In Depth and is reprinted with permission.

ABQ city councilor wants congressional investigation into ATF sting

An Albuquerque city councilor is calling for a congressional investigation of a massive, undercover federal sting operation that targeted a poor, largely minority section of his district last year in an attempt to blunt the city’s gun and drug crime. Pat Davis, a Democrat who represents the International District and is running for Congress himself, filed a resolution on Friday that, if passed by the Albuquerque City Council, would ask  New Mexico’s congressional delegation to push for hearings on the sting operation. The four-month sting was undertaken by the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In addition, the resolution asks the ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the 103 people arrested in the sting, to apprise city officials of the details of the operation. The resolution, which will be formally introduced at a Sept.

Boyfriend’s betrayal: ABQ woman jailed after ATF informant lured her into drug deals

Jennifer Padilla’s boyfriend was pleading: Call people you used to run with, hook me up with some meth deals so I can pay off my Florida partners. 
He’d been robbed and needed cash, he kept saying. He’d be hurt if she didn’t. 
On parole after a year in prison for a string of Santa Fe burglaries and struggling to stay off drugs, Padilla was conflicted. Stepping back into the drug world unnerved her, but she refused to see the man she loved in danger. This story originally appeared in New Mexico In Depth, in partnership with the Santa Fe Reporter, and is reprinted with permission. Two calls to three old acquaintances led to a pair of methamphetamine deals last July.

Chief justice: State’s judicial system ‘on life support’

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels on Thursday portrayed a state court system in crisis, withering from funding cuts to the point it can no longer provide indigent defendants their constitutional rights to an adequate defense. Without those rights, he told lawmakers during his annual State of the Judiciary address, laws simply become “words on paper.” “New Mexico’s justice system is on life support, and its organs are failing,” Daniels said. He acknowledged the statewide budget crisis and said he’s used to hearing lawmakers say, “We don’t have any money.” The total amount the judiciary is seeking this year is $168.6 million, or about 2.71 percent of the state general fund budget.