SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez signed into law three bills Sunday afternoon, two aimed at providing judges with more information about a criminal defendant’s history and one that creates a system to notify the public when a person with mental or physical disabilities is missing.
“These bills are all going to make our neighborhoods safer by keeping our courts informed, keeping our citizens aware and, most importantly, keeping criminals off of our streets,” Scott Weaver, acting cabinet secretary of the Department of Public Safety, said Sunday afternoon.
House Bill 72, better known as Jaydon’s Law, allows judges to review juvenile records for adult defendants 30 or younger charged with felonies. The records must be kept confidential, and the reviews are to be done in the judge’s chambers.
“You can’t be 18 years old or 19 years old and pretend you didn’t have a juvenile criminal record,” Martinez said.
The law is named for 17-year-old Jaydon Chavez-Silver, who was killed in June. Three teens are charged in his death.
Chavez-Silver’s parents were in attendance Sunday. His mother, Nicole Chavez, called the signing bittersweet and promised that her efforts to make Albuquerque a safer community are nowhere near finished. The teen’s parents are active members of the Repeat Offenders Bring Death, Destruction and Devastation group, which pushed for several laws during the 2016 session, including Jaydon’s Law and House Bill 336.
House Bill 336, also signed Sunday, authorizes the Department of Public Safety to create and maintain a criminal records clearinghouse, which will merge information from multiple criminal databases already in use in the state. Additionally, it requires the Administrative Office of the Courts to report information from court proceedings that might affect a person’s eligibility to buy a gun.
Martinez said Sunday that this section of the bill requires the courts to report to the National Crime Information Center when a person has been adjudicated as mentally unstable. The AOC already does this, but the bill makes it law.
“This legislation further strengthens the state’s safeguards to help keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill,” Martinez said.
Martinez also signed into law Senate Bill 21, which establishes Brittany Alerts. Similar to Amber and Silver alerts, the system will notify the public when a law enforcement agency verifies that a person with a mental or physical disability has gone missing.
“When I read this bill, it rang very close to home, because I have a sister, who if she got lost, I would want everyone’s eyes and ears listening and looking out for her the way I would,” Martinez said. Her sister, Lettie, who is developmentally disabled, was in the audience as Martinez signed the bill into law.
The alert is named for Brittany Redford-Gonzales, a developmentally disabled woman who disappeared from her parent’s home in 2015 and was located safe 18 days later in Clovis. She was also in attendance.
Staff writers Deborah Baker and Joline Gutierrez Krueger contributed to this story.