District attorneys in New Mexico are reviewing prior cannabis charges in the state for expungement, KRQE reports. The reviews are required under a bill approved by lawmakers that accompanied the state’s adult-use legalization legislation.
Lauren Rodriguez, the spokesperson for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, said officials have reviewed over 11,527 cases that are potentially eligible for automatic expungement in the district while challenging 53 because the charges are related to transporting more than 100 pounds or distributing cannabis to a minor.
In the 11th Judicial District, officials have filed 1,608 cases for expungement, the 5th Judicial District have filed 265, and Doña Ana County has filed 312, the report says.
Adrianne Turner, the general counsel for the New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender, said the “big question” that remains is how the process will work in court and how the individuals will be notified.
“Right now, their last known attorney is supposed to be notified. That is problematic because some of those attorneys are now prosecutors, deceased, retired, or have moved out of state. We are receiving notice of some of the objections, but there is no clear process we are supposed to follow, including how or if we tell our former clients. So that leaves a lot of questions and confusion.” — Turner to KRQE
The Department of Public Safety says they initially pegged 151,640 cases across the state for review but the courts have the final say in whether a case is expunged.
Turner indicated that some legal professionals have noticed that there are “differences in how prosecutors across the state are objecting to expungements” and that the right to the relief should not be based on who the local prosecutor is.