Martinez Instrumental in Arrest of Murder Suspect

Susana Martinez at the target range
Yesterday Governor Susana Martinez and District Attorney Matt Chandler stood with the family of murdered 10-year old Carlos Perez to announce that fugitive murder suspect Noe Torres has been arrested in Chihuahua, Mexico and is awaiting extradition. Torres is wanted for the September 15, 2005 murder of Perez in Clovis, New Mexico. He has been on the run since Perez was shot while sleeping in the middle of the night, believed to have been hiding out in a Mexican religious compound.
On January 18th, Torres wrote a letter to Governor Martinez requesting that she provide assistance in dropping the murder charges against him.
Matt Chandler
The next day, Martinez met with District Attorney Chandler, who provided her with information about where authorities believed Torres to be located in Mexico, as well as details about previous activity in the case. Later that evening, Martinez met with Chihuahua Governor Cesar Duarte prior to an economic development summit that was held in Pojoaque and provided him with all relevant details on the case – including the address at which Torres was believed to be hiding, photos of the hideout, and his mug shot. She asked Governor Duarte to provide the information to Mexican law enforcement officials and for his help in securing the arrest of the suspected killer.
After more than six years of evading capture, while law enforcement officials at the state and federal level worked to keep the case alive and bring Torres to justice, Torres was arrested in Chihuahua, Mexico on January 25th.


Identity Documents Targeted

KOAT TV - Police said burglars ransacked a home in the North Valley and took the all of the family members' legal documents. Homeowner Cynthia Ruiz said she can barely sleep at night after burglars broke into her home and stole more than just a TV and some jewelry.
"They took every single legal document that you can imagine -- birth certificates, Social Security cards, death records -- every legal document," Ruiz said.
After a recent move, Ruiz said she thought her family's paperwork was safe, tucked deep into a photo album inside a paper box. "It was awful. At first, I thought, 'Maybe they're thrown somewhere,'" Ruiz said. She said she called identity theft security companies and went to the Social Security office to figure out her next move.
Police said burglary cases similar to Ruiz's are occurring at an alarming rate. Read full story here: News New Mexico

GOP House Members Try for Election Reform, Again

House Republicans have introduced three bills that address election integrity: HB 113 is sponsored by Representative Cathrynn N. Brown (R-55), HB 207 is sponsored by Representative Jim Smith (R-22), and HB 237 is sponsored by Representative Dianne Hamilton (R-38).
“As we laid out in our Centennial Plan for New Mexico, the citizens of our state have made it clear that they favor a law requiring voter identification at the polls,” said Minority Leader Tom Taylor (R-1). “The voter ID bills introduced this session by House Republicans provide New Mexico voters with confidence that our election system is secure, accurate and reliable.”
“Fair and square elections – that’s all we’re asking for. Photo ID provides safeguards the majority of voters want,” said Rep. Brown of Eddy County. “In the age of identity theft, we need poll officials putting a face with a name.”
“New Mexico voters deserve to know their vote counts and the voting process in New Mexico is conducted lawfully,” added Rep. Smith. “This measure allows folks to present a variety of forms of ID at the polling place. Under this legislation, voters will have flexibility in what they present and confidence that the process is sound and that the voice of hard-working New Mexicans is being honestly expressed.”
“New Mexico faces a serious problem with the integrity of our elections. We need to address the shortcomings of our voting system and ensure voter confidence at the ballot box. Voter ID is a common sense initiative to improve the security of our elections. I am proud to bring this legislation before the House again this year. Now is the time to act,” concluded Rep. Hamilton.


"All of the Above"


NM legislative session reaches halfway point

From - By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - State lawmakers are struggling to reach a compromise on the budget as the 30-day legislative session hits the halfway point. Under normal circumstances, that is the time when the House of Representatives would be voting on the budget and sending it over to the Senate, so that it would arrive on the Governor Susana Martinez' desk in good time. But these are not normal circumstances. Oil and natural gas revenues- especially natural gas - remain a mystery for economists trying to gauge the state's income for the next budget year. The forecast they have come up with is about $257 million on new money, after several years of declines, but stagnant natural gas prices make that prediction shaky. The budget drafted before the session would spend only about $215 million in new money, but the bill remains stuck in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee while Democrats and Republicans squabble over details. "I would say we probably have about a day and a half more," said Democratic Rep. Kiki Saavedra, Appropriations and Finance chairman. "We're gonna meet with the minority party and they've got some concerns about the budget, so we'll probably meet with them this evening or tomorrow morning and see what we can iron out." At the heart of the disagreement is the governor's power to decide on budget cuts if there is less money than expected, or tax cuts or spending increases if there is more money.  Read more

KRQE: Prison gang adopts UNM Lobo as symbol

From - ALBUQUERQUE - The gang is called Los Burqueños or the Burqe Boys, and members are using well-known Albuquerque symbols to identify themselves.The Burqueños started as a New Mexico prison gang where members of different Albuquerque street gangs would band together behind bars. The goal was to protect each other from rival gangs housed in the same facilities. Now their numbers inside state lockups have increased by 40 percent, and that's in this year alone. "They try to challenge staff for control of our prisons and control of the inmate population," said Dwayne Santistevan, administrator of the Security Threat Intelligence Unit with the New Mexico Department of Corrections. "They charge other inmates rent, cause assaults and what have you." He says the Burqueños can be very dangerous, and they are using common city images to brand themselves. They get tattoos of the city's downtown skyline, the image of the Albuquerque Duke, the Zia sun symbol and even the University of New Mexico Lobo logo. And they have a special purpose for the Lobo's paw print. "That paw means something," Santistevan said. "They had to commit some sort of felonious act or assault to receive those paws," Read more

Preparations in place for Floyd Jamboree (we hope)

From the Clovis News Journal - The Floyd Jamboree will go on this year despite no one showing for Sunday’s auditions, according to Floyd Lions Club Vice President and Jamboree Program Chairman Fred Patterson. He still expected to have a full slate of participants. Floyd New Mexico is about thirty miles east of Portales. There were about 30 participants at the 2011 event. “I’ve already contacted everybody (from last year) and everybody’s told me their plans are to be on the show,” Patterson said. “There are even a few people who know they have conflicted schedules Saturday night, so they plan to be in the show Thursday and Friday.” Patterson said this year’s jamboree will be held March 29-March 31, with the Sunday gospel show April 1.Patterson and Lion’s Club Secretary Paul Benoit said the event sticks strictly to country music but song selections are different every year with the exception of two or three favorites, which audience members request almost every year. Read more

Bill to ban fireworks fizzles in Santa Fe

From the Alamogordo Daily News - By Milan Simonich, Texas-New Mexico Newspapers - A bill permitting bans on the use and sale of fireworks appears on the verge of fizzling. The measure would enable the governor, as well as city and county governments, to declare an emergency and institute bans of up to 30 days. The bill stayed alive Tuesday after a 90-minute hearing in the Senate Public Affairs Committee, but even one of the sponsors said the time was right for a compromise with the fireworks industry. Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, said he wanted to sit down with owners of fireworks businesses to discuss an alternative. Gentry is cosponsoring the bill with Democratic Sen. Dede Feldman of Albuquerque. Eddie Arnett, who owns fireworks businesses in southern New Mexico, told the committee the bill was unnecessary. Arnett said fireworks almost never are the cause of wildfires. By the state's estimates, nearly 1 million acres burned last year, and about 3,700 acres were linked to fireworks use. Feldman and Gentry said they agreed that fireworks cause few fires. But, they said, fireworks can be controlled. Wind and lightning cannot. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez called for the power to impose fireworks bans last summer, one of the worst seasons ever for wildfires in New Mexico. Read more

Sandoval County considering eliminating jailhouse smoking

From the Rio Rancho Observer - BY ARGEN DUNCAN  - BERNALILLO - Need that nicotine fix? It may no longer be available at the Sandoval County jail. County commissioners are set to vote on whether to ban tobacco products from the grounds of the county jail. The measure is on the agenda for the commission meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the county administration building in Bernalillo.If approved, the ban would prevent inmates from using or having tobacco products. Staff members would be allowed to use and have them only in the employee parking lot. As it stands, inmates and staff can smoke in outdoor areas.Detention Center Director Al Casamento said the ban is aimed at creating a healthier environment for employees and inmates.Commis-sioner Don Leonard said he supports the ban because the county must pay for health care for inmates, including state prisoners housed in Sandoval County. Removing tobacco use could curb health problems in both smokers and inmates exposed to second-hand smoke, he said."I'm sure it's going to be tough," Leonard said.Some inmates are addicted to tobacco, so the ban will be a struggle, he continued. However, Leonard said taxpayers should get relief because they would pay for fewer inmate medical problems.The ban would forbid staff, inmates, visitors and contractors from having or using tobacco inside or on the outdoor grounds of the jail or in jail vehicles, according to county documents. Inmates would never be able to use or have tobacco products, including when they were off-site under supervision of jail personnel. Read more