Under Article II, Section 14 of the New Mexico Constitution, a defendant may not be brought to trial for a serious criminal offense unless there first has been a determination of probable cause, either by a grand jury or by a judge at a preliminary examination. In this case we consider whether the full constitutional right of confrontation in criminal prosecutions applies at a pretrial probable cause determination. We hold that it does not, because the right of confrontation in Article II, Section 14 of the New Mexico Constitution, as with the right of confrontation guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, applies only at a criminal trial where guilt or innocence is determined. We overrule the contrary precedent of Mascarenas v. State, 1969-NMSC-116, 80 N.M. 537, 458 P.2d 789, to the extent that it held otherwise.
Defendant Aquilino Lopez was stopped for speeding and arrested for driving with a suspended license. While performing a search incident to the arrest, the arresting officer discovered in Defendant’s pocket a clear bag containing a green leafy substance suspected by the deputy to be marijuana. During an inventory of the contents of Defendant’s car, officers discovered another bag containing a white powdery substance that they believed to be cocaine. Defendant was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, and driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Judge(s): Charles W. Daniels
Jurisdiction: New Mexico Supreme Court
Related Categories: Constitutional Law
|Supreme Court Judge(s)|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Bennett Baur||Office of the New Mexico Public Defender Department|
|Allison Jaramillo||Office of the New Mexico Public Defender Department|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Gary King||Office of the New Mexico Attorney General|
|Ralph Trujillo||Office of the New Mexico Attorney General|