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Pleas of Co-Defendants: Admissability and Harmless Error in New Mexico

July 10, 2012, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

The 6th Amendment allows for confrontation of witnesses in criminal trial of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of a criminal defendant to confront witnesses. As such, testimonial evidence is inadmissible in court against a defendant unless the defendant has a chance to cross-examine the witness who‘s statements are admitted into evidence. In State of […]

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Sixth Amendment Protections Apply to Plea Negotiations

June 14, 2012, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

According to the Department of Justice, 94% of state convictions and 98% of federal convictions are the result of guilty pleas. A large number of these guilty pleas arise from plea bargains and negotiations between the prosecution and defendants. As such, plea negotiations have become a fundamental part of the criminal justice system in the […]

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Sentencing in Violation of a Court Approved Plea Agreement Not Allowed in New Mexico

May 14, 2012, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

A recent case before the New Mexico Court of Appeals clarified whether a court could sentence an individual to more time than agreed to in a plea agreement if a portion of that sentence was suspended. In State v. Miller, the Court held that the suspended portion of the sentence counted as part of the […]

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Supreme Court Extends Sixth Amendment Protection to Rejected Plea Offers

April 10, 2012, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

The U.S. criminal system has largely become a system of pleas. According to the Department of Justice, 98% of federal convictions and 94% of state convictions are the result of guilty pleas, with a large part of these arising from plea bargains between the prosecution and defendant. Consequently, the Supreme Court of the U.S. has […]

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The Law of Contracts and Criminal Plea Agreements in New Mexico

January 23, 2012, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

A recent case from the New Mexico Court of Appeals points out the intersection of contract law and criminal law. Specifically, the New Mexico Court of Appeals held that criminal plea agreements are enforceable just as other contracts. In so doing, the Court also set forth some unique principles that apply to plea agreements that […]

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Consent to Police Search Must be Voluntary

December 22, 2011, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

A recent case from the New Mexico Court of Appeals addressed the validity of the consent to a search under the 4th Amendment. The case of State v. Norman Davis involved the search of an individual‘s property for marijuana. In a joint operation, the New Mexico State Police, the New Mexico National Guard and officers […]

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Passenger Rights Against Illegal Search & Seizure in Routine Traffic Stops

October 4, 2011, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

It is well established in New Mexico that a law enforcement officer cannot extend the scope of a traffic stop beyond the initial basis for the stop in the absence of fairly restrictive circumstances. However, the issue of a passenger‘s right to challenge the scope of the ensuing investigation had not been specifically addressed until […]

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The Deferred Sentence in First Time New Mexico DWI Results in a Dismissal, BUT…

May 15, 2011, by Collins & Collins, P.C.

A deferred sentence in a first time DWI in New Mexico is pretty common in most courts around the state. A deferred sentence eventually results in a dismissal of the charges. However, the dismissal does not have the effect that most DWI offenders would wish it to have. A deferred sentence in any case, including […]

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