Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard of Los Alamos speaks on the House floor last week in santa Fe as Los Alamos Municipal Court Judge Alan Kirk looks on. Courtesy photo
House Bill 110, sponsored by Los Alamos legislator, Stephanie Garcia Richard, successfully passed the House floor in a unanimous vote last week.
A bill developed by the Association of Municipal Judges, HB 110, seeks to allow municipal bench warrants to be served in adjacent counties. Los Alamos Municipal Judge Alan Kirk, current president of the Association was the expert witness on the bill for Rep. Garcia Richard. He testified that HB 110 would positively impact service of the outstanding warrants in his court.
Currently, Municipal Court warrants may only be served in the county where they are issued. More than 50 percent of warrants issued by the Los Alamos Municipal Court are for people who reside outside Los Alamos County, meaning that under current law the courts may not have the warrants served to “out of county” residents.
Debate on the bill included questions from various legislators about why the legislation did not extend jurisdiction statewide. Judge Kirk responded that statewide jurisdiction for Municipal Courts would be financially prohibitive for some of the smaller rural courts, challenging their limited resources; in addition, all municipal warrants related to DWI offenses already have statewide jurisdiction.
Garcia Richard who is carrying the legislation on behalf of the Association stated that it would give judges another tool to be able to manage their outstanding warrants load.