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III.   ARTICLE 26 "VICTIMS OF CRIME ACT"

Article 26
VICTIMS OF CRIME ACT

31-26-1. Short title. (Effective January 1, 1995.)

This act [31-26-1 to 21-26-14 NMSA 1978] may be cited as the "Victims of Crime Act."

31-26-2. Purpose of act. (Effective January 1,1995.)

 Recognizing the state's concern for victims of crime, it is the purpose of the Victims of Crime Act to assure that:
        A. the full impact of a crime is brought to the attention of the court;
        B. victims of violent crimes are treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity at all stages of the criminal justice process;
        C. victims' rights are protected by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges as vigorously as are the rights of criminal defendants; and
        D. the provisions of Article 2, Section 24 of the constitution of New Mexico are implemented in statute.

31-26-3 Definitions. (Effective January 1, 1995.)

        A. "court " means magistrate court, metropolitan court, children's court, district court, the court of appeals or the supreme court;
        B. "criminal offense" means:
            (1) arson resulting in bodily injury, as provided in Section 30-17-5 NMSA 1978;
            (2) aggravated arson, as provided in Section 30-17-6 NMSA 1978;
            (3) aggravated assault, as provided in Section 30-3-2 NMSA 1978;
            (4) aggravated battery, as provided in Section 30-3-5 NMSA 1978;
            (5) dangerous use of explosives, as provided in Section 30-7-5 NMSA 1978;
            (6) negligent use of a deadly weapon, as provided in Section 30-7-4 NMSA 1978;
            (7) murder, as provided in Section 30-2-1 NMSA 1978;
            (8) voluntary manslaughter, as provided in Section 30-2-3 NMSA 1978;
            (9) involuntary manslaughter, as provided in Section 30-2-3 NMSA 1978;
            (10) kidnapping, as provided in Section 30-4-1 NMSA 1978;
            (11) criminal sexual penetration, as provided in Section 20-9-11 NMSA 1978;
            (12) criminal sexual contact of a minor, as provided in Section 30-9-13 NMSA 1978;
            (13) homicide by vehicle, as provided in Section 66-8-101 NMSA 1978;
            (14) great bodily injury by vehicle, as provided in Section 66-8-101 NMSA 1978; or
            (15) abandonment or abuse of a child, as provided in Section 30-6-1 NMSA 1978
        C. "court proceeding" means a hearing, argument or other action scheduled by and held before a court;
        D. "family member" means a spouse, child, sibling, parent or grandparent;
        E. "formally charged" means the filing of an indictment, the filing of a criminal information pursuant to a bind-over order or the setting of a preliminary hearing;
        F. "victim" means an individual against whom a criminal offense is committed. "Victim also means a family member or a victim's representative when the individual against whom a criminal offense was committed is a minor, is incompetent or is a homicide victim; and
        G. "victim representative" means an individual designated by a victim or appointed by the court to act in the best interests of the victim.

31-26-4 Victims rights. (Effective January 1, 1995)

A victim shall have the right to:
        A. be treated with fairness and respect for the victim's dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process;
        B. timely disposition of the case;
        C. be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process;
        D. notification of court proceedings;
        E. attend all public court proceedings the accused has the right to attend;
        F. confer with prosecution;
        G. make a statement to the court at sentencing and at any post-sentencing hearings for the accused;
        H. restitution from the person convicted of the criminal offense that caused the victim's loss or injury.
        I. information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, escape or release of the accused;
        J. have the prosecuting attorney notify the victim's employer, if requested by the victim, of the necessity of the victim's cooperation and testimony in a court proceeding that may necessitate the absence of the victim from work for good cause; and
        K. promptly receive any property belonging to the victim that is being held for evidentiary purposes by a law enforcement agency or the prosecuting attorney, unless there are compelling evidentiary reasons for retention of the victim's property.

31-26-5 Exercise of rights; requirements for the victim. (Effective January 1,1995.)

 A victim may exercise his rights pursuant to the provisions of the Victims of Crime Act (31-26-1 to 31-26-14 1978) only if he:
        A. reports the criminal offense within five days of the occurrence or discovery of the criminal offense, unless the district attorney determines that the victim had a reasonable excuse for failing to do so;
        B. provides the district attorney with current and updated information regarding the victim's name, address and telephone number; and
        C. fully cooperates with and fully responds to reasonable requests made by law enforcement and the district attorney.

31-26-6 When rights and duties take effect; termination of rights and duties. (Effective January 1, 1995.)

The rights and duties established pursuant to the provisions of the Victims of Crime Act [31-26-1 to 31-26-14 NMSA 1978] take effect when an individual is formally charged by a district attorney for allegedly committing a criminal offense against a victim. Those rights and duties remain in effect until final disposition of the court proceedings attendant to the charged criminal offense.

31-26-7 Designation or appointment of victim's representative. (Effective January 1,1995)

A. a victim may designate a victim's representative to exercise all rights provided to the victim pursuant to the provisions of the Victims of Crime Act[31-26-1 to 31-26-14 NMSA 1978].  A victim may revoke his designation of a victim's representative at any time.

B. when a victim is deceased, incompetent or unable to designate a victim's representative, the court may appoint a victim's representative for the victim.   If a victim regains his competency, he may revoke the court's appointment of a victim's representative.

C. when the victim is a minor, the victim's parent or grandparent may exercise the victim's rights; provided, that when the person accused of committing the criminal offense against the victim is the parent or grandparent of the victim, the court may appoint a victim's representative for the victim.

31-26-8 Procedures for providing victims with preliminary information; law enforcement agencies. (Effective January 1, 1995)

The law enforcement agency that investigates a criminal offense shall:
    A. inform the victim of medical services and crisis intervention services available to victims;
    B. provide the victim with the police report number for the criminal offense and a copy of the following statement: "If within thirty days you are not notified of an arrest in your case, you may call (telephone number for the law enforcement agency) to obtain information on the status of your case." and;
    C. provide the victim with the name of the district attorney for the judicial district in which the criminal offense was committed and the address and telephone number for that district attorney's office.

31-26-9 Procedures for providing victims with notice of rights and information regarding prosecution of a criminal offense; district attorneys. (Effective January 1,1995)

    A. Within seven working days after a district attorney files a formal charge against the accused for a criminal offense, the district attorney shall provide the victim of the criminal offense with:
        (1) a copy of Article 2, Section 24 of the constitution of New Mexico;
        (2) a copy of legislation that implements the provisions of Article 2, Section 24 of the constitution of New Mexico;
        (3) a clear and concise statement of procedural steps generally involved in prosecuting a criminal offense; and
        (4) the name of a person within the district attorney's office with whom the victim may contact for additional information regarding the prosecution of the criminal offense.

31-26-10 Procedures for providing victims with notice of a court proceeding; courts; district attorneys. (Effective January, 1 1995)

A court shall provide a district attorney's office with oral or written notice no later than seven working days prior to a scheduled court proceeding attendant to a criminal offense, unless a shorter notice is reasonable under the circumstances. The district attorney's office shall convey the information concerning the scheduled court proceeding to the victim as provided in Subsection B of Section 9 [31-26-9 NMSA 1978] of the Victims of Crime Act.

31-26-11 Procedures when an inmate escapes; corrections department. (Effective January 1, 1995.)

        A. The corrections department shall immediately notify the sentencing judge, the district attorney of the judicial district from which the inmate was committed and the probation officer who authorized the pre-sentence report when an inmate:
            (1) escapes from a correctional facility under the jurisdiction of the corrections department; or
            (2) convicted in New Mexico of a capital, first degree or second degree felony and transferred to a facility under the jurisdiction of another state, escapes from that facility.
        B. The district attorney shall immediately notify any person known to reside in his district who was a victim of the criminal offense for which the inmate was committed.

31-26-12 Procedures when an inmate is released from incarceration; parole board; corrections department; district attorneys. (Effective January 1, 1995.)

        A. The parole board shall provide a copy of its regular docket to each district attorney in the state at least ten working days before the docket is considered by the board.
        B. The parole board shall provide a copy of supplemental, addendum or special docket to each district attorney at least five working days before a docket is considered by the board.
        C. Following consideration of a docket by the parole board, the board shall promptly notify each district attorney of any recommendations adopted by the board for release of an inmate from incarceration. The district attorney shall notify any person known to reside in his district who was a victim of the criminal offense for which the inmate was incarcerated.
        D. In the case of an inmate scheduled to be released from incarceration without parole, the corrections department shall notify each district attorney at least fifteen working days before the inmates release. The district attorney shall notify any person known to reside in his district who was a victim of the criminal offense for which the inmate was incarcerated.

31-26-13 Disclaimer. (Effective January 1, 1995.)

Nothing in the Victims of Crime Act [31-26-1 to 31-26-14 NMSA 1978] creates a cause of action on behalf of a person against a public employer, public employee, public agency, the state or any agency responsible for the enforcement of rights or provisions of services set forth in the act.

31-26-14 Effect of noncompliance. (Effective January 1, 1995)

A person accused or convicted of a crime against a victim shall have no standing to object to any failure by any person to comply with the provisions of the Victims o f Crime Act [31-26-1 to 21-26-14 NMSA 1978.]  

"Someone I Love Was Murdered"

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