New Mexico public defenders seek more funds, reforms - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

New Mexico public defenders seek more funds, reforms

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's chief public defender is urging state lawmakers to shore up resources for attorneys that represent impoverished defendants and consider reducing penalties for some low-level offenses that carry jail time.

Chief Public Defender Bennett Baur on Tuesday urged a panel of lawmakers to take steps to ensure public defense attorneys are not overwhelmed by caseloads.

The New Mexico Supreme Court currently is considering whether indigent defendants are being left without an adequate defense and potential remedies.

Democratic Sen. Richard Martinez of Espanola says lawmakers are likely to wait until 2019 when a new governor takes office to propose reductions again to misdemeanor penalties.

Republic Governor and former prosecutor Susana Martinez vetoed legislation this year that would have reduced penalties for long list of misdemeanors.

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