$10K raised for public defender ballot measure
Posted at: 09/14/2012 7:44 AM
By: The Associated Press
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Criminal defense lawyers are helping to finance a campaign for a ballot proposal to make the New Mexico Public Defender Department an independent state agency.
A campaign finance report shows the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers contributed $10,000 last month to a newly formed political committee that's promoting voter approval of the proposed constitutional amendment.
The political group is called New Mexicans for Equal Justice. Treasurer Alex Curtas says the group plans public forums to educate voters about the public defender proposal and may air radio advertisements.
Public defenders represent criminal defendants who can't afford a lawyer.
If the ballot measure is approved, the governor will no longer appoint the chief public defender, who manages the department.
Voters will decide five constitutional amendments on the November general election ballot.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)