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By Malia Brink
Indigent Defense columns.
New Mexico: Reform in Progress
Generally, the Indigent Defense column reports on conclusions —
definitive wins and losses. But this month, I thought it appropriate to
report on the indigent defense reform movement in New Mexico, a work in
progress that has been working toward the creation of an independent
indigent defense commission in that state. This past legislative
session, a bill to create such a commission was introduced and passed by
a 54-8 vote in the state House of Representatives. Although the bill
died in a Senate committee, its progress was an enormous achievement for
a group that began focused work toward that goal a little over two
NACDL’s involvement with indigent defense reform in New Mexico began in
2004 when Gail Evans, an attorney with the New Mexico Center on Law and
Poverty, approached the indigent defense committee about the problems in
the New Mexico system. The committee was initially skeptical. New
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