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Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

New Mexico has general and delinquency-related purpose clauses effective in 2009 and 2007, respectively.  It retains language from model acts of the due process era, including the Legislative Guide for Drafting Juvenile and Family Court Acts (1969) and Model Acts for Family Courts and State-Local Children’s Programs (1974); accountability and rehabilitative restitution elements of BARJ; and phrases from the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997) were also noted.   Purposes include elements related to eliminating discrimination, coordinated responses among civil and criminal systems, government agencies and communities, and for a single judge to hear all family proceedings, which are not commonly included in other state's clauses.  The purpose of the delinquency act includes mention of data-supported juvenile justice procedures and objective risk assessments, which also reveals an early shift that aligns with the Developmental Approach. 

NM ST §32A-1-3; §32A-2-2

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the juvenile court intake officer, divided by offense.

In New Mexico, when an alleged delinquent child is taken into custody by law enforcement, a state Juvenile Probation officer/designee (JPO) must permit placement in detention or alternative placement and a petition must be filed with the court within 24 hours. When detained, a judge, hearing officer or magistrate must determine probable cause at a detention hearing within 48 hours of detention, pending further order of court.

Other complaints alleging delinquency are referred to court-designated/agency JPO, who screens complaints and conducts a preliminary inquiry to determine whether a petition should be filed or if court involvement should be handled informally. JPO’s can make the decision to adjust misdemeanor-level allegations, but when the complaint is felonious or the child has certain priors, the JPO must forward recommendations to the children’s court attorney or district attorney (depending on allegation/district) (DA) for prior approval to pursue non-judicial handling. Informal adjustments can include referrals to another agency and conditions can include community service, supervision of the youth, and a planned agreement written with the child and family. Upon successful completion, the complaint is closed. When the JPO believes formal court involvement is necessary, the matter is brought to the DA who must sign the petition before filing.

Once the petition is filed, without involving the judge, the child’s time waiver can defer adjudication upon agreement of the child’s attorney and DA. The DA places restrictions on the child’s behavior as a condition of the time waiver. When a factual basis for jurisdiction is established (not necessarily an admission from the child), but before entering a judgement, the court may also suspend proceedings on motion of the DA or counsel for the child and continue the child under supervision pending terms and conditions negotiated with JPO and agreed to by the child. If the DA disagrees, the judge can still order the “consent decree”. The consent decree can remain in force initially up to 6 months, where the JPO may discharge the child or ask the court to extend the arrangement for another 6 months. Only the court can revoke the agreement or dismiss the matter, which usually occurs upon successful completion of terms and conditions.

Post-petition court diversion time limit/s exist.

In New Mexico, time limits for non-judicial handling are not specified in statute.  Consent decrees can last for 6 months and can be extended another 6 months. 

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by judiciary

In New Mexico, Children’s Court Rule 10-223 requires that use of any physical restraint devices must be court ordered with individual determinations based on ‘particularized’ security needs relating to the facility, available security personnel, etc. Reasonable effort must be made to avoid the jury’s observation of restraints. Before or after any child is ordered restrained, the court shall permit any party to be heard.

Competency, 2015

In New Mexico, Children’s Court rules have provisions for determination of (juvenile) competency to stand trial. Statutory sections for predisposition studies include procedures for evaluations in a more general sense. The court can submit the issue to a jury. If found incompetent, misdemeanors are dismissed with prejudice, and other allegations can be stayed for up to one year. If a finding of incompetency is made during the adjudicatory hearing, a mistrial is declared.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015

Does not register

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Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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