Custom Search

Friday, February 12, 2010

[NM] New Mexico Passes HB 17 - Those convicted of domestic violence can't become officers

...State law requires a police officer’s certification be revoked if he is convicted — or in some cases merely accused - of drunk driving, theft or aggravated assault. It does not, however, specify that domestic violence is a crime demanding an officer’s dismissal... The House approved HB 17, which would prohibit people with domestic violence offenses from serving as police officers... The vote in favor of the HB 17 followed a lengthy debate that was kicked off by Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, who said the bill would disqualify someone for shaking their finger at their spouse... Rep. Powdrell-Culbert, R-Corrales, said HB 17 was “a needless piece of legislation”... 

The state police is the only police agency so far to publicly support the law change. “Police officers require a higher standard,” NMSP Major Robert Shilling tells SFR. “All we have is our integrity”...

REP. NATE COTE


WORKING BACKWARDS CHRONOLOGICALLY:

LEGISLATIVE ROUNDUP FEB. 11, 2010
The New Mexican and wire services
Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 2/1
Domestic violence offenders: A memorial (HM 58) introduced by Rep. Nate Cote, D-Las Cruces, would explore possible actions against state workers besides police officers who have domestic violence convictions. The move comes after the House approved HB 17, which would prohibit people with domestic violence offenses from serving as police officers. Cote said that measure wasn't intended to single out law-enforcement officers, and he decided to work with the Domestic Violence Leadership Commission "to identify and analyze instances where domestic violence might affect other professions that are licensed or certified by the state." The commission also would study the consequences of a domestic violence conviction on professional certification and identify whether other states impose such restrictions or decertification on these other professions. [LINK]

LEGISLATIVE ROUNDUP FEB. 9, 2010
The New Mexican
Monday, February 08, 2010 - 2/9
Domestic violence measure: The House has approved legislation (HB 17) that prohibits domestic-violence offenders from becoming law-enforcement officers within three years of a violation. The bill also means police who commit such offenses could lose certification. "This bill brings the New Mexico Law Enforcement Act into compliance with federal law and expands on the law to include violence on all household members, including aggravated stalking and damage of property," said Rep. Nate Cote, D-Las Cruces, the measure's sponsor. "Right now, if a police officer is convicted of domestic violence, they're not allowed to carry a gun or serve as a policeman for a three-year period. This is a progressive step in fighting domestic violence in this state, yet it acknowledges law enforcement as first responders and the difficult job they do have in carrying out their duties." [LINK]

HOUSE VOTES TO DISQUALIFY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OFFENDERS FROM POLICE FORCE
New Mexico Independent
By Marjorie Childress and Patricia Sauthoff
2/8/10 6:16 PM Digg Tweet
[Excerpts] Anyone convicted of domestic violence in the previous three years would be disqualified from being hired as a police officer if legislation passed by the House Monday becomes law. The bill also adds conviction of the crime as grounds for suspending or revoking a police officer’s certification. The vote in favor of the HB 17 followed a lengthy debate that was kicked off by Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, who said the bill would disqualify someone for shaking their finger at their spouse. “Someone would lose their livelihood for shaking their finger at their wife,” he said. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Nate Cote, D-Doña Ana, disagreed, saying the bill only pertained to those who had actually been convicted of domestic violence. The bill had been amended in the House Judiciary Committee, he explained, to ensure that the bill only applied to those convicted of the crime... Rep. Powdrell-Culbert, R-Corrales, said HB 17 was “a needless piece of legislation,” citing the lengthy test potential law enforcement officers must take before being accepted into police academies and which she said would weed out those with violent tendencies. Cote made the point that it was important to ensure domestic violence offenders weren’t on the police force because police officers were the “first responders” to domestic violence calls. HB 17 adds to a federal law that prohibits the carrying of firearms for certain domestic violence crimes, including aggravated stalking and aggravated assault. Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Tucumcari, attempted to add an amendment to HB 17 that would make the law apply only to felony convictions... Cote, who pointed out that there are misdemeanor offenses on the books already that remove certifications from law enforcement offers responded by saying, “I wouldn’t confuse other misdemeanors with domestic violence, which is a serious problem, “adding that his bill would help “to protect the citizens of New Mexico.” The amendment, which failed, was also opposed by Rep. Ken Martinez, who said misdemeanor battery was important to include and that “any attempt to take misdemeanors out really guts the bill,” as misdemeanor battery is defined as “temporary painful disfigurement,” ie. bruises, scratches, etc. [Full article here]

BILL ME LATER
Lawmakers Get Busy With Pre-Session Proposals
Santa Fe Reporter
By: Corey Pein
01/06/2010
[Excerpts] The New Mexico state Legislature convenes Jan. 19... These early bills got SFR’s attention, at least. The alternative titles are merely our suggestions for added zest... HB 17: No Domestic Violence Offenders as Police -- Alternate title: “The No Shit, Sherlock Act of 2010” As the law stands today, New Mexico forbids thieves and drunk drivers from becoming cops—but wife-beaters are A-OK.... [Full article here]

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL BOUNCED BACK TO COMMITTEE
The New Mexico Independent
By Patricia Sauthoff
2/4/10 12:47 AM
[Excerpts] HB 17, a bill that would prevent convicted domestic violence offenders from becoming police officers and would remove certification from current officers convicted of domestic violence crimes, is being sent back to the House Judiciary Committee, where it saw a heated and dramatic debate last Friday. Rep. Nathan Cote, the bill’s co-sponsor, offered an amendment to the bill that would define domestic violence nearer to that of SB 2, which narrows the definition of “household member” to “spouse, former spouse, parent, present or former stepparent, present or former parent in-law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law, a co-parent of a child or a person with whom a person has had a continuing personal relationship.” The re-definition would strike family member or relative from the definition... At Friday’s hearing both Reps Kintigh and Rehm expressed concerns that the current definition was too broad and used the example of an altercation between brothers as one that would fall under current domestic violence crimes. Kintigh and Rehm, both former law enforcement officers, protested the possibility of an officer losing his job due to such an altercation. Kintigh, who along with Rehm, and Reps. Bandy and White, walked out of Friday’s Judiciary Committee meeting in an attempt to block a vote on the bill, praised Cote’s amendment saying it was “an excellent amendment” and offering his support... HB 17 is Cote’s second attempt to pass this domestic violence legislation into law... At Friday’s hearing Rep. Antonio Maestas raised concerns about law enforcement officers’ partners saying, “If I’m a cadet and if I’m abusive, is my victim less likely or more likely to call someone to intervene?” to which Cote responded “I think they’d be more likely to call” if this legislation were passed. Though a federal law, the The Gun Control Act, exists that prohibits persons who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes from possessing fire arms, the New Mexico law would cover crimes not covered in the federal law, including stalking and property damage... [Full article here] 

POLICE LOBBY FIGHTS ANTI-DOMESTIC-VIOLENCE BILL
Santa Fe Reporter
By: Corey Pein corey@sfreporter.com
02/03/2010
[Excerpts] Ten years ago, New Mexico State Police Officer Marvyn Jaramillo was pulled over by a Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy for speeding. He flunked a sobriety test. His loaded shotgun lay behind his seat. NMSP fired Jaramillo — even before he was convicted of drunk driving and negligent use of a deadly weapon. On Sept. 28, 2009, Jaramillo, now a Santa Fe sheriff’s deputy, became the subject of a temporary protection order filed by his ex-wife. She didn’t claim physical abuse, but wrote that he “can be vindictive,” and that she feared “verbal and physical threats” by Jaramillo and his new wife. She also feared as “an officer of the law he will attempt to use those ‘powers’ against us all,” she wrote. Jaramillo’s new troubles have not affected his job. State law requires a police officer’s certification be revoked if he is convicted — or in some cases merely accused—of drunk driving, theft or aggravated assault. It does not, however, specify that domestic violence is a crime demanding an officer’s dismissal. A bill now winding its way through the Roundhouse and provoking heated debate would change that. House bill 17 would require that officers convicted of domestic violence lose their certifications by the state Law Enforcement Academy. The change would not apply to Jaramillo, who hasn’t been charged with domestic violence. It might apply to officers like Santa Fe Police Department Sgt. Michael LeBlanc, who remains certified despite three charges of domestic violence. The high rates of domestic violence by first responders is well-documented, if somewhat taboo. Last year, Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano announced he was taking steps to address stress-related domestic violence in his department... The state police is the only police agency so far to publicly support the law change. “Police officers require a higher standard,” NMSP Major Robert Shilling tells SFR. “All we have is our integrity.” Santa Fe Police Chief Aric Wheeler tells SFR he doesn’t know enough to take a position on the bill... Sheriff Solano could not be reached prior to press time... The Fraternal Order of Police and the New Mexico Sheriffs’ & Police Association are fighting the bill — although neither calls their position opposition, per se. FOP lobbyist David Heshley disputes the premise that an officer’s judgment might be “tainted” by a domestic violence conviction... Eventually, every Republican on the committee walked out of the hearing. Rep. William Rehm, R-Bernalillo, showed concern for officers’ jobs. “All of us, in our marital life, have had some disagreement with our spouse,” Rehm said. “If my wife and I got in an argument and it was called in by a third party, an individual could be arrested for that and subsequently lose their career”... [Full article here]

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILLS GET DRAMATIC HEARING
The New Mexico Independent
By Patricia Sauthoff
1/31/10 9:54 PM
Four members of New Mexico’s House of Representatives walked out of the House Judiciary Committee Friday afternoon as a domestic violence bill was being heard. HB 17, which was introduced by Rep. Nate Cote and Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, would prohibit domestic violence offenders from becoming law enforcement officers within three years of a violation; officers convicted of domestic violence crimes could lose their certification. Rep. Bill Rehm, a former law enforcement officer, attempted to amend the bill to narrow the wording... (Senator Peter Wirth’s SB 2, which narrows the definition of a “household member,” passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee as HB 17 was being debated.) Concerned with language in the bill, Reps. Rehm, Paul Bandy, Dennis Kintigh and James White first voted yes to the amendment, which failed by a vote of 7-4 and then left the room, leaving the committee without a quorum — the minimum number of present representatives required for a vote. Reps. Stewart, Martinez and Cervantes had not been present at the beginning of the two-plus hour testimony, though Stewart arrived in time to vote against the amendment. Committee chair Al Park then assured the victims’ advocates who came in support of the bill that he would find another member of the committee to vote. In the end, the measure passed 8-0 and will proceed to the floor of the House for a full vote... Rehm and Kintigh expressed concern that holding law enforcement officers to a different standard than other public employees was unfair... Malinda Williams of Community Against Violence in Taos disagreed, telling The Independent, “We would expect police officers to have higher standards.” Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas agreed, saying, “I don’t see this as an anti-domestic violence bill; it’s an anti-police brutality bill. It’s weeding out who becomes a cop and who doesn’t.” Adding, “There’s a correlation between being a controlling person and being a less than stellar police officer.” Sally Sanchez of Roberta’s Place, a Grants-based victims’ advocate group, told The Independent she was a victim whose perpetrator was a state officer and “his supervisors told me unless he killed me there was nothing I could do.” Advocate Linda Siegle said she though the bill might also face similar hurdles in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it could be heard after a vote in the House early next week... [Full article here]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please post updates or email them to behindthebluewall@gmail.com. No cop-hating or victim-hating comments allowed. Word verification had to be added due to spam attacks on this blog.