Supreme Court weighs in on Skype testimony, judges using Facebook

Lawyers cannot use Skype or similar services for expert witnesses testifying against a defendant, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. The ruling came after an expert witness in a murder and kidnapping trial used Skype to testify on the evidence against the defendant. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that since the defendant did not waive his constitutional right to confront witnesses, the testimony is invalid. The witness was no longer in the state, however the state’s high court ruled, “Inconvenience to the witness is not sufficient reason to dispense with this constitutional right.“

The Supreme Court ruled the kidnapping case did not have enough evidence for a conviction and remanded the murder charge back to district court for a new trial. “The United States Supreme Court has never adopted a specific standard for two-way video testimony, but we doubt it would find any virtual testimony an adequate substitute for face-to-face confrontation without at least the showing of necessity that Craig requires,” Chief Justice Charles Daniels wrote in the opinion, referring to Maryland v. Craig that affirmed the use of one-way video for testimony by the accuser in a child sex abuse case.

Judge: Public officials’ Facebook subject to IPRA

Public officials’ Facebook pages are subject to the state’s open records law, a district court judge ruled last week. District Judge Jerry H. Ritter Jr. ruled that the City of Alamogordo violated the state Inspection of Public Records Act over a request by Wendy Irby, according to the Alamogordo Daily News. The city did not hand over relevant documents—and actually said they did not have access to the documents. This appears to be a first in New Mexico, according to Susan Boe, the executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government. “The Facebook issue hasn’t really come up here in New Mexico, but it has in other states,” she told NM Political Report on Monday.

Friends again: Bills (Clinton and Richardson) pose for photo

After years of acrimony and feelings of betrayal, former President Bill Clinton and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson stopped to take a photo with each other in New York City. Richardson posted the photo on his Facebook page and Twitter account on Thursday afternoon and wrote, “Great seeing my former boss President Clinton in NYC. We caught up and rekindled an old friendship. Go Hillary!” In August, Richardson officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Heinrich opposes TPP fast track

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich announced Friday that he opposes a fast track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, the latest in a line of controversial trade agreements. Heinrich, a Democrat, is going against President Barack Obama in opposing the quick approval of the treaty. The TPP is a rare occasion where Republicans and Obama are on the same page and the deal is expected to get a Senate vote. “They call that Trade Promotion Authority or TPA, but it’s really just re-branded ‘Fast Track’ legislation designed to allow trade deals to be pushed through Congress with little or no debate,” Heinrich wrote on Facebook late last week. Heinrich outlined some of his concerns with possibilities of what could be in the treaty including, saying that changes could not be made if the quick approval makes it through Congress.

On Earth Day, Heinrich, Udall want GOP to act on climate change

Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall each sent out messages to their supporters, urging them to tell Republican members of the Senate to act on climate change. The emails came on the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. “Democrats are battling climate change, working to build a greener economy and making investments in renewable energy resources,” Udall wrote. “All the while Republicans continue to bury their heads in the sand and deny climate change.” “The fight for a clean environment continues as the ravages of climate change continue to manifest themselves every day,” Heinrich wrote.