February 2009 Archives

February 20, 2009

New Mexico Juries Getting Younger?

In theory, jury trials are supposed to be heard before your “peers.” However, there have always been a few exceptions, jury pools tend to be based on driver’s license records or voter registration records. From there, there can be all sorts of exclusions. However, a recent bill being circulated in the state Senate allows those over 70 years old to submit a written statement to the court to get off of jury duty.

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In theory, supporters of the bill suggests that it will prevent many seniors from having to find rides to the courthouse, or sit through uncomfortable and lengthy trials. They are also eager to point out that the bill does not prohibit seniors from serving on a jury, rather allows them leave to get out of jury duty.

State legislators voted in favor of the bill and it now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. It will be interesting to see if those who can actually benefit from the bill are as eager to do so as the supporters of it.

February 13, 2009

Gallup New Mexico Pedestrian Deaths

Local news recently reported that police in Gallup New Mexico tend to begin a study of New Mexico Highway 602 after two pedestrians were hit by vehicles and killed this past week. Although pedestrian deaths are not uncommon in New Mexico, this stretch of road has seen its unusual share.

Gallup%20Pedestrian%20Deaths.jpgUnder New Mexico law, claims are allowed against the government for the defect is or negligent maintenance of roads and highways, but not for the design of them. Typically, such cases require an argument that lighting of a road falls within the maintenance category rather than design.

In a recent cases in Gallup, at least one motorist reported being unable to see the pedestrian. These cases suggest that even though the police reports may be suggestive that the driver was not at fault, there still could be a case in the event that the county, state, or municipality, is aware of the danger posed by these roads, yet does not act promptly.

As an aside, it seems puzzling that the police department is responsible for studying ways to improve lighting rather than the city planning or highway departments.