State court: Civil rights restored for some felons

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A state Supreme Court ruling will help a New Mexico man fighting a federal charge of being a felon in possession of firearms.

The court said Thursday an offender’s civil rights, including the ability to hold public office, are restored in New Mexico if they receive a deferred sentence and the charges are dismissed.

A 2001 state law made clear that a felon receiving a deferred sentence could possess a firearm.

A federal appeals court asked the Supreme Court to interpret state law to help resolve a case involving James Oliver Reese.

Reese won’t be considered a felon under federal law for a 1992 state conviction if his civil rights had been restored, including the rights to vote, serve on a jury, possess a firearm and hold public office.

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