By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - In the case of a man arrested numerous times on domestic violence charges, the New Mexico Supreme Court says a person's right to confront an accuser can be forfeited if that defendant is accused of wrongdoing through coercion or intimidation.
The court in an opinion issued Monday said such behavior can have the same result as making an overt threat to ensure a victim's silence.
The justices found that the district court should have allowed prosecutors to use some of the victim's statements in the case of Joshua Maestas.
Despite talking with police and testifying before a grand jury, the woman later decided not to cooperate with prosecutors, resulting in the case being dropped.
The state attorney general's office and victim advocates consider the court's opinion a positive step in the fight against domestic violence.
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