New Mexico Castle-Doctrine Bill Faces Opposition


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A bill that would make people who kill or hurt a criminal while defending their property immune from lawsuits faces a hurdle, the bill's sponsor says.

The bill, introduced by state Sen. Steve Neville, passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday by a 7-1 vote with one lawmaker absent. But it must clear the Senate Judiciary Committee before the Senate votes.

The bill faces challenges in the judiciary committee, said Neville, R-Aztec. Civil libertarians and trial lawyers have argued that everyone has the right to sue.

State law does not protect home and property owners from lawsuits brought on by criminals injured while committing crimes, Neville said. Neville's proposed legislation would force those lawsuits to be dismissed, unless the person injured or killed is a law enforcement officer performing his or her duties.

New Mexico would be one of 16 states with such legislation, called "Castle Doctrine" law, if the bill is signed into law, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.

A person may commit homicide in New Mexico as long as it's "justifiable." A person may legally kill someone else, for instance, "when committed in the necessary defense of his life, his family or his property," and in some other cases, according to state law.

Neville wants to strengthen that law.

People should not have to worry whether they will be sued when they defend their family and homes, Neville said.

"What this bill does is allows people the peace of mind to know that if they do injure someone in the act of protecting their personal property, that they're not going to be subject to lawsuit," Neville said.

The judiciary committee will decide on the bill sometime next week, Neville said, but the committee has not scheduled a vote yet.

By Steve Lynn
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We need to contact our legislators and let them know that we are watching their voting record and their support of the Castle Doctrine bill (SENATE BILL 109) and the restaurant carry bill (House Bill 105) is integral to our support for them in future elections.

You can find your legislators HERE.

We must be vocal on these matters!

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