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Execution of a Warrant by Traffic Stop Does Not Violate Rule Against Pretextual Stops

January 20, 2014, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

In New Mexico, it is pretty well established that a traffic stop may not be used as pretext for the investigation of other unrelated crimes. This rule applies even where the traffic stop is legitimate. Ochoa’s Pretext Rule The 2009 New Mexico Court of Appeals case of State v. Ochoa established this “pretext rule.” The […]

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Looking Suspicious Does Not Alone Justify Search & Seizure in New Mexico

January 17, 2014, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

The issue of illegal search and seizure will come up in a countless variety of situations. One such situation is the search and seizure of the occupants of a parked vehicle for looking suspicious. The fact is, at least in New Mexico, such a search and seizure is illegal without more. Because the search and […]

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Scope of De Novo Appeal from New Mexico Magistrate Court Not Limited to Abuse of Discretion

December 31, 2013, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

Criminal charges in New Mexico frequently get dismissed for a number of reasons. Among the most common in DWI cases is dismissal for failure of police officers to show for trial. A defendant has a right to confrontation of witnesses. In DWI cases, the only witnesses are typically officers. As such, a trial cannot proceed […]

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Legal Scope of Search Warrants Somewhat Elusive

October 21, 2013, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

The requirement of a valid search warrant prior to the search of individual‘s property is a very important 4th Amendment protection. It is pretty clear that a failure to properly secure a search warrant where one is required constitutes an illegal search and seizure under the 4th Amendment. However, as with most issues of constitutional […]

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Search Warrants Issued by Phone

October 11, 2013, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

The 4th Amendment illegal search and seizure protections are closely guarded in New Mexico. In fact, the New Mexico courts by way of the New Mexico Constitution often extend these protections beyond those found under federal law. The requirement of a validly obtained search warrant is one very important protection against search and seizure. A […]

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Show of Force and Voluntary Consent to Search and Seizure

October 3, 2013, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

The 4th Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure are among the greatest protections afforded to citizens. There are very strict criteria for search and seizure. An illegal search and seizure will result in illegally seized evidence being excluded. This potential is the greatest deterrent to abusive search and seizure practices of law enforcement. In […]

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English Language is No Prerequisite to Jury Service in New Mexico

October 1, 2013, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

The New Mexico Supreme Court case of State v. Samora concerns the rights of non-English-speaking citizens and jury selection. Specifically in this case, the Court had to decide whether the excusal of a Spanish-speaking juror who had difficulty understanding English constituted a fundamental error requiring a new trial. In this case, the defendant was charged […]

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Even Partial Closure of New Mexico Criminal Court Violates Right to Public Trial in Absence of Overriding Interests

September 23, 2013, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

A defendant in a criminal case has a right to a public trial under the 6th Amendment. The question arises whether there are exceptions to this right. In the recent New Mexico Supreme case of State v. Turrietta, the Court had to determine that issue in light of the trial court‘s decision to partially close […]

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No Confrontation Rights at Probably Cause Hearing in New Mexico

September 20, 2013, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

There is firmly established 6th Amendment allows for confrontation of witnesses in criminal trial under both New Mexico and Federal Law. New Mexico Supreme Court case of State v. Lopez deals with the right to confrontation at a pretrial probable cause determination. Specifically, this case arose in the context of a Magistrate Court preliminary hearing […]

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Search and Seizure Rights – Who Can Assert Them?

September 16, 2013, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals addressed an interesting search and seizure issue in the case of State v. Silvas. The case dealt with a couple of other issues but the threshold issue was the 4th Amendment argument made by the defendant for pretextual car stop. Interestingly, the pretextual stop did not involve the defendant […]

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