Constitutional Amendment One- A Key Vote for Criminal Justice Reform

The Poor Awaiting Trial Should Not Spend Months in Jail Before Trial

The Poor Awaiting Trial Should Not Spend Months in Jail Before Trial

During this year’s regular 2015-16 session, Peter Wirth sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 1 proposing two changes to the bail provisions in the New Mexico Constitution.

First, Judges in felony cases would be able to hold dangerous defendants without bail if they are a threat to another person or the community. Currently, these dangerous defendants can post a money bond and be back on the street while they await trial.

Second, the resolution states that non-dangerous defendants cannot be held in jail pending trial solely because they lack the financial resources to post a money or property bond.

Here is a link to the joint resolution: https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/16%20Regular/final/SJR01.pdf. The new language is in Section 1 starting on line 18.

Meredith Machen, President of the New Mexico League of Women Voters, wrote an excellent op-ed in the Santa Fe New Mexican explaining the changes. This bipartisan legislation passed by a wide margin in the state Senate and unanimously in the state House.

 

Please vote “Yes” on Constitutional Amendment No. 1 this fall. These changes will make us safer, save taxpayers money and enable non-violent offenders who are poor and not a flight risk to be released and not spends months in jail when they have not been convicted of anything.