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‘Jaydon’s Bill’ would open juvenile records to judges

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, prefiled a bill this week that would allow judges to consider the juvenile court history of a defendant when setting bail or other conditions of release.

Gentry: House leader files "Jaydon's Bill"

Gentry: House leader files “Jaydon’s Bill”

“Jaydon’s Bill” is named after Jaydon Chavez-Silver, 17, of Albuquerque, who was shot and killed this summer. Police arrested a 16-, 18- and 21-year-old in connection with his death.

Gentry said in an interview that judges need to be able to consider a defendant’s entire history, especially if the defendant has just turned 18 and might have pending juvenile cases.

He has been working with Chavez-Silver’s mother, Nicole Chavez, on this and other criminal justice bills.

“We aren’t interested in the kid who shoplifted a pack of gum when he was 15,” Gentry said.

The purpose, he said, is for judges to know if the defendant before them has significant criminal history as a juvenile, such as homicide, rape or repeated patterns of felony behavior.

Though the three charged in Chavez-Silver’s death don’t appear to have such extensive juvenile criminal records, there was no way for the judges setting their bail to know.

Chavez- Silver: Teen was shot and killed

Chavez- Silver: Teen was shot and killed

It is possible, Gentry said, for a defendant who just turned 18 to have pending juvenile cases that a judge for adults currently can’t see in the state’s court case computer system.

“To have things like that in a judge’s hand, that they’re able to make a thought-out decision based on data, it’s in everybody’s best interest,” Nicole Chavez told the Journal .

The bill, HB 72, also would allow judges to use juvenile court records in sentencing and parole decisions.

It would not allow the juvenile records or court records to be used as evidence in any case, just for use in determining bail and sentencing, including parole, according to the bill.

The 18-year-old charged in Chavez-Silver’s death, Donovan Maez, is the son of former state Rep. Stephanie Maez, D-Albuquerque, with whom Gentry has clashed in the past.

Nicole Chavez said she hopes that political history does not hurt the bill.

“The whole point is making changes for the better for the state and … better for everybody,” she said. “It’s very important to be able to look a person’s whole history.”

The next session begins Jan. 19. It is a 30-day session, meaning the governor must approve which nonbudgetary bills are considered.