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Negotiations aim for ‘compromise’ on probation overhaul

Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas

Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas

SANTA FE — State prosecutors and Democratic Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas of Albuquerque moved closer to an agreement Monday on proposed legislation to overhaul New Mexico’s rules for probation and parole.

A key aim of the proposal is to reduce the number of people sent back to prison based on technical violations — such as failing to show up for an appointment — rather than a new criminal charge.

In a committee hearing, Maestas introduced a variety of amendments to the legislation, House Bill 263, aimed at satisfying concerns of district attorneys, the Attorney General’s Office and others.

“We are close,” Dianna Luce, the district attorney for three counties in southeastern New Mexico, said after the hearing. “We’re trying to reach a compromise that’s good law.”

The state Public Defender Department, meanwhile, still has serious concerns about parts of the bill.

The legislation is still under development, and a new version — with the amendments introduced Monday — is expected to be unveiled later this week.

“It’s great to move forward together,” Maestas told the House Judiciary Committee. “Thirty states have done this. The ones that have done it right have shown (reductions in) recidivism.”

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