HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
Victims of violent crimes will receive additional protections for their pretrial interviews and trial testimony under new legislation passed by the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee today.
With bipartisan sponsorship from Rep. Meredith Dixon (D-Albuquerque), Sen. Gay G Kernan (R-Hobbs), Sen. Leo Jaramillo (D-Española), and Sen. Linda M. Lopez (D-Bernalillo), House Bill 143 amends the Victims of Crime Act with provisions to protect victims of violent crime from the secondary trauma often experienced when having to relive their distressing experience multiple times or when facing harsh interrogations before even taking the stand.
“As things stand now, victims of violent crime suffer not only the trauma of the event itself, but they are often subjected to retraumatization by being forced to recount their experiences multiple times, before even setting foot in a courtroom,” said Rep. Dixon. “Such retraumatization can cause significant psychological harm to victims, especially children, which not only interferes with their ability to fully participate in the criminal justice system, but to heal.”
Rep. Dixon continued: “Furthermore, the effects of trauma on victims have economic consequences for our state, because retraumatization can interfere with the victims’ ability to continue education and employment. If we do not enact HB 144, more victims of crime will suffer unnecessary additional trauma, some will choose to forego criminal justice proceedings and never receive justice, and the costs to our society will continue to grow.”
HB 144 passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee with a 4-1 vote, and will be heard next in the House Judiciary Committee.
Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.