Tuesday News Roundup: Ruling Says Search For Pot Violated Privacy Rights

Jan 21, 2014

Ruling Says Search For Pot Violated Privacy Rights  - Albuquerque Journal and The Associated Press

A court ruling says a police search that found 14 marijuana plants on a man's property in a remote area of northern New Mexico violated his privacy rights.

The state Court of Appeals' ruling says that's because authorities didn't have a warrant to conduct an aerial flyover that prompted the search.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the ruling cites prior New Mexico court decisions and says privacy protections apply to targeted, warrantless police aerial surveillance.

Norman Davis' home in Taos County was checked during a 2006 joint operation of New Mexico State Police, National Guard and state Game and Fish.

Authorities were looking for marijuana-growing operations.

A search was conducted with Davis' reluctant consent after a spotter in a helicopter saw vegetation in Davis' greenhouse and plants outside.

  New Mexico Legislature To Convene 30-Day Session - The Associated Press

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez will outline her legislative priorities to lawmakers on the opening day of the Legislature's 30-day session.

Lawmakers convene at noon Tuesday, and the governor will deliver her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate.

Martinez already has unveiled parts of her legislative agenda, including merit pay for teachers and budget increases for programs to help train more health care professionals.

A Democratic legislator is sponsoring a constitutional amendment to legalize the possession and use of marijuana by people 21 and older.

Democratic Party officials are urging the Legislature to raise the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, up from $7.50.

The session is limited to budget, taxes and proposals placed on the agenda by the governor.

Victim of Roswell Shooting Recovering At HomeThe Associated Press

One of the students wounded when a classmate opened fire inside a Roswell middle school gym is recovering at home.

The family of 13-year-old Kendal Sanders says she was released from the hospital Sunday. She had surgery last week to repair damage done to her shoulder.

The other victim, 12-year-old Nathaniel Tavarez, remained at a Lubbock, Texas, hospital yesterday. A family member says the boy is in critical but stable condition and is now breathing on his own.

Sanders and Tavarez were wounded when the gunman entered the crowded Berrendo Middle School gym last Tuesday and fired three times from a 20-gauge shotgun.

The seventh-grade suspect has been charged as a juvenile with three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Police have yet to speculate about a motive.

New Mexico Lawmaker To Monitor Session Online - The Associated Press

State Rep. Phillip Archuleta will be monitoring New Mexico's legislative session via his laptop computer as he recovers from major surgery.

The Las Cruces Democrat says he has already been involved in the early filing of legislation and requests of capital outlay funds for his district. He will also be getting daily reports from his secretary and the House staff once the session gets underway today.

Archuleta is recovering from hip surgery that followed a fall he took while attending an interim committee meeting.

While he will not be able to travel to Santa Fe, House officials say his family will be representing him on opening day.

Archuleta has served as a member of the House Water and Natural Resources Committee and the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee.

Reform Results In Improvements For New Mexico Investments - The Associated Press

New Mexico has recovered all of its losses since the recession began five years ago.

The value of the state's permanent funds has grown to 16 percent higher than what it was before the market crashed. At the end of 2013, the State Investment Council had an estimated $18.64 billion under management.

The increase in returns on fund investments has also placed New Mexico among the better-performing funds compared to its peers nationwide. In 2009, the state was ranked among the bottom.

SIC board members and staff tell the Albuquerque Journal improvement in fund performance, plus the council's smooth functioning nowadays, are the result of four years of steady, major reform.

Spokesman Charles Wollmann says the council has carried out one of the biggest portfolio overhauls in the country in recent years.

National Teachers Union President Visits New Mexico - The Associated Press

The head of the American Federation of Teachers is visiting New Mexico to push the importance of early childhood education.

Union officials say president Randi Weingarten met with local AFT leaders, teachers, parents and community members yesterday morning at the Parkside Child Development Center in Albuquerque.

Weingarten is also visiting Santa Fe, where she will meet with Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, educators and others who are rallying for the "Keep the Promise" agenda as the New Mexico Legislature gets ready to begin its 30-day session.

The campaign centers on concerns over increasing class sizes, decreasing diversity in curriculums and controversial teacher evaluations and student testing.

Also, finding a permanent source of funding for efforts to improve early childhood education is expected to be hashed out during the session.

Alcohol-related crashes down in Santa Fe County - The Associated Press

Santa Fe County has seen the number of crashes involving alcohol drop sharply over the past year, and experts say that's evidence New Mexico's drunken driving laws, police enforcement and education are making the state safer.

Ignition interlock advocate Tom Starke tells The New Mexican there's a real trend going on.

The report prepared by the Santa Fe Prevention Alliance shows the number of alcohol-related crashes decreased from 128 in 2012 to 106 last year — a drop of 17 percent.

The number of DWI arrests was also down, and one less person died in a drunken driving crash in 2013 than the previous year.

Starke and others believe one factor is New Mexico's ignition interlock law, which mandates one of the devices for all DWI offenders. Another factor is city and county forfeiture laws.