Every legislative session there are a lot of pointless memorials introduced. Why just the other day I was sitting in the House Gallery and heard Representative Mimi Stewart introduce and pass one such memorial.
A joint memorial requesting that the taxation and revenue and economic development departments convene a task force to study the effectiveness of the state’s economic development incentives in achieving their objectives and outcomes.
Several legislators, Representative Dan Foley among them, pointed out that it is the job of the state EDD to produce those findings. I have to agree. Expecting a department to provide the quantifiable results of their program should not require a memorial, it should just be chalked up to basic old fashioned accountability. If any department is unable to do it, might I suggest suspending their funding.
Obviously, certain members of the House are struggling to find memorials to introduce. Well, since I’m a helpful sort of chap, I thought I’d offer Representative Stewart a sample of a real issue that is worthy of a memorial. You know, a memorial that would actually be meaningful in improving the lives of New Mexico’s citizens. Here is the idea taken from retired Judge Jack Love’s blog:
The six-month rule states that felony criminal cases in New Mexico must go to trial within six months. If a felony case does not go to trial within six months, the rule requires that the Judge dismiss the case and release the accused, free of such charges, forever. Persons accused of murder have been set free on this technicality. The archives of the Albuquerque Journal report many cases where charges of murder, vehicular homicide, and other felonies were required to be dismissed, and the accused set free, never to be tried again, because of the six-month rule. Search the archives under “six month rule.”
This sounds like a serious issue to me that needs to remedied. Good news is that Judge Love provides the solution, and I would urge everyone to read Judge Love’s post in its entirety. However, for those of you dashing off to committee, here is the executive summary:
The federal rule of criminal procedure allows the Judge to dismiss the case without prejudice, allowing the prosecutor to re-file the case. The New Mexico rule can be changed to follow the federal rule. This would take action by the Supreme Court of New Mexico, but would not require any action by the Legislature. The Legislature may want to pass a memorial asking the Supreme Court to amend the six-month rule.
So, how about it? You think we could get an anti-criminal memorial through the legislature? Granted, this is not on the level of legislating world peace, but it sure would help my family sleep better at night. By the way, Judge Love has a well documented history of great ideas, so you really ought to listen to his proposal.