House passes bill to increase penalties for second-degree murder

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SANTA FE, N.M. — The House unanimously passed House Bill 79 Friday afternoon, after very little debate on the floor.

"Murder one and murder two should be the two stiffest penalties on the books, and then everything else should be relative to that, so this will put it as the second stiffest penalty in New Mexico," said state Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, D-Albuquerque, a sponsor of the bill.

The will would do three things:

  • Raise the maximum sentence for someone convicted of second-degree murder from 15 to 18 years
  • Remove the statute of limitation for the crime
  • Raise the maximum sentence for attempted second-degree murder from three to nine years

Maestas said that, currently, under state law, you can do more time for other crimes than second-degree murder.

"A drug trafficker can do 18 years, a murderer – if you can’t prove first-degree – only does 15," Maestas said.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor for consideration, with just six days left in the legislative session.

Track HB 79 during the legislative session.