Lawmakers to consider revamping New Mexico’s three-strikes law

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Life may soon get a lot harder for the state’s repeat offenders. Lawmakers are considering a broader three-strikes law for those who commit violent crimes.

During the next legislative session two different bills will be presented both aiming for a major overhaul of New Mexico’s current three-strikes law.

Two weeks from Tuesday, dozens of bills will be introduced by legislators, many focused on fighting crime.

“Hopefully we can come to some unity on a dozen or half a dozen of them to move the state forward,” said Rep. Antonio Maestas.

House Bill 18 and House Bill 28 are both focused on revamping New Mexico’s current three-strikes law, to make it more effective.

“If you look at the current law on three strikes you have to have killed or raped someone three times. Almost all of those crimes are 15 to 30 years per incident. And that’s why no one has been sentenced under our current three-strike legislation,” said Rep. William Rehm.

House Bill 18 proposed by Rep. Nate Gentry would add crimes like aggravated arson and aggravated assault on a peace officer to a list of crimes that would make repeat offenders eligible for a life sentence.

House Bill 28 is being introduced by Rep. William Rehm. He said it will only address the worst of the worst.

“You would have had to injure or kill someone three times,” Rehm said.

Opponents of the proposals believe even the three-strikes law is too lenient.

“If someone deserves to go to prison for life, it shouldn’t take three-strikes,” Maestas said.

Rep. Antonio Maestas said he’d rather see an increase in penalties on certain violent crimes.

“What we should focus on is fully funding the district attorney’s office and metro court and ensuring swift and certain justice,” Maestas said.

Rehm said right now there are currently 56 inmates state wide who would have fallen under his version of the three-strikes bill.

The state’s current three-strikes law was enacted more than two decades ago, so far there have been no convictions under that law.

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