Supreme Court clarifies criminal trespass in Portales case

New Mexico Supreme Court
New Mexico Supreme Court

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico Supreme Court has found that the general public doesn’t automatically have permission to enter a property if there are no signs posted to prevent trespassing.

The court issued a ruling Thursday in a 2011 case in which Trevor Merhege was convicted of criminal trespass after running through the front yard of a Portales home and trying to jump a fence.

The Court of Appeals had reversed Merhege’s conviction after he argued that the property wasn’t posted as private and that the state had insufficient evidence to prove the trespass charge.

The Supreme Court reinstated the conviction, pointing to the wall surrounding the property and the fact that Merhege was running from police in the pre-dawn hours as enough circumstantial evidence for jurors to convict him.