Rep. Nate Gentry
SANTA FE ― Rep. Nate Gentry pre-filed an appropriations request to develop a real-time centralized database to allow judge’s and courts get a full picture of a defendant’s past criminal history.
Gentry’s request, HB 153, would provide $700,000 to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for supplemental personnel and infrastructure to allow DPS to quickly respond to court requests for comprehensive background reports.
Currently, courts often must consult up to six different criminal databases to discover a defendant’s previous contact with the criminal justice system.
A centralized clearinghouse would coordinate the information housed in these multiple databases to let courts quickly and more accurately determine the full risk posed by a defendant when making pre-trial and sentencing decisions.
Courts would then be able to ensure that the decisions are appropriate based on the defendant’s previous criminal record.
“We need to ensure that judges have accurate real-time information on the defendants who come before them,” Gentry said. “I hope my fellow legislators will agree to support this sensible improvement to the way we collect and provide information to our courts.”
In August of last year, the New Mexico Supreme Court’s Ad Hoc Pretrial Release Committee recommended that the Supreme Court work with the Administrative Office of the Courts to develop a centralized clearinghouse for providing prompt criminal histories and risk assessment to detention facilities, courts and municipal courts.
Gentry’s funding request would make the development of this clearinghouse possible.
The criminal offender database would consolidate information housed in databases maintained by the National Crime Information Center, the Criminal Justice Information System, the Consolidated Offender Query, federal and state courts as well as the Association of District Attorneys.