ICYMI: “Three Strikes” Law Passes Judiciary Committee
Santa Fe, NM – Today a bill sponsored by Rep. Paul Pacheco to reform New Mexico’s “three strikes” law passed the House Judiciary Committee on a 7-4 vote. House Bill 56 would help keep career criminals off the street by closing the criminal justice revolving door that allows dangerous criminals out of jail and free to harm New Mexico families.
“The current three strikes law is so weak that it’s never been used,” Pacheco said. “We have a violent crime problem in New Mexico, and this legislation is one piece of the overall strategy to reduce our violent crime rates.”
The current list of crimes that makes a violent convicted offender eligible for mandatory life sentencing is too narrow. As a result, prosecutors never use the current law. Pacheco’s bill would expand the list of offenses that would qualify repeat offenders for mandatory life sentencing under the current three strikes law to include crimes in which the perpetrator commits a violent act or shows a propensity for violence.
By expanding the list of crimes qualifying violent offenders for prosecution under the three strikes law, criminals who exhibit violent tendencies can be more appropriately sentenced. The expanded law would help prevent additional tragedies resulting from the actions of callous and violent career criminals by keeping dangerous felons behind bars.
The Courts, Corrections and Justice Interim Committee of the Legislature endorsed Pacheco’s proposal last year. It passed the House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee by a 4 to 3 vote earlier this week and is headed to the House Floor next.