SANTA FE – The House Judiciary Committee passed Rep. Paul Pacheco and Rep. John Zimmerman’s bill to reform New Mexico’s “Three Strikes Law”.
HB 5, also know as “Lilly’s Law”, was approved by a bipartisan vote of 8 to 4. The legislation would expand the list of violent felony crimes that would make an offender eligible for mandatory life sentencing. No defendant has been convicted under the current law because the list of crimes included in the law is extremely narrow.
Pacheco and Zimmerman’s bill would expand the list of offenses to include crimes in which the perpetrator exhibits a propensity for violence. By increasing the number of crimes qualifying violent offenders for prosecution under the three strikes law, courts will be able to protect New Mexicans by keeping the worst repeat criminals in prison for life.
“This bill is designed to keep the worst offenders off the street,” Pacheco said. “I have seen first-hand the devastation caused by violent repeat offenders. Improving this law will help protect New Mexicans.”
“New Mexicans are tired of being victimized by repeat violent offenders,” Zimmerman said. “Too many innocent people are paying terrible consequences due to the actions a few extremely violent criminals. Our current laws need to be improved.”
The bill is named for Lilly Garcia, a 4-year-old girl who was the victim of a violent road rage incident in Albuquerque last year.
“We need to toughen our laws to reduce violent crime and make our city and state safer,” Lilly’s mother Veronica Garcia said. “This bill is not a Republican or Democrat issue – it’s a public safety issue.”
Pacheco introduced Lilly’s Law during the regular session held earlier this year. It passed the House by a vote of 47 to 15 and was approved by the Senate Public Affairs Committee by a vote of 6 to 2. The bill eventually died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.