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Public defenders underfunded, association president says

Kai Porter
February 01, 2017 06:46 PM

A committee of lawmakers in Santa Fe heard discussion Wednesday afternoon about public safety and how this afternoon.

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Several organizations, including the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, addressed the Senate Judiciary. Matthew Coyte, president of the association, said New Mexico’s public defender’s offices are chronically underfunded.

Coyte spoke to lawmakers on the committee about how each time a crime bill is passed, it can result in more people being arrested and locked up. That means public defenders will have to take on more cases.

 “And each time you pitch a new tough on crime bill, you have to understand and our legislative body needs to know the unintended consequence of the fiscal impact of this,” Coyte said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t vote on any legislation relating to the issue. It was just a chance for lawmakers to get input from the groups.

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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