The Champion

June 2007 , Page 57 

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Indigent Defense

By Malia Brink

Read more 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 years ago.

Humble Beginnings

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 Mexico

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