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. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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