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Morning Word: Death Penalty Reinstatement Would Cost State Millions

September 22, 2016, 7:25 am
Death Penalty Cases Would Be Costly
At the same time New Mexico lawmakers are trying to shore up the state’s budget, the New Mexico Public Defender's Office is questioning the costs associated with reinstating the death penalty if Gov. Susana Martinez gets her way.

Griego’s Bank Accounts Under Review
The attorney general’s office wants to determine if former state senator Phil Griego was using campaign bank accounts as a slush fund. Griego’s financial records are under review after a judge signed warrants giving an attorney general’s investigator access to statements, checks and other documents. Steve Terrell reports Griego could face charges for misusing the political money. He already faces nine counts connected to the sale of a state building in 2014.

Secretary of State Candidates Disagree on Effort to Register Eligible Voters
The two candidates for New Mexico Secretary of State disagree on an effort by the interim secretary of state to get more elibigle voters registered to vote before the Nov. 8 elections. Republican Nora Espinoza says she thinks “the voter file is bloated and inaccurate, with some voters’ 'addresses' nothing more than commercial mailbox stores, and she maintained there are problems with duplicate and fake Social Security numbers.” Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver supports the campaign, funded by a federal grant, to get eligible voters registered. 

Baby Brianna’s Mother Mum After Prison Release  
KOAT news crews were in Grants when Stephanie Lopez, the mother of Baby Brianna, was released from prison after serving half of a 27-year sentence. They followed a vehicle that came to pick her up to a gas station in Los Lunas, but Lopez didn’t answer any of their questions. Watch video as Lopez takes her first steps to freedom. 

Juror Removed from APD Officers’ Murder Trial
A juror who was caught talking to someone about the murder case involving two former Albuquerque Police Officers on her cell phone was replaced with an alternate juror on Wednesday. KUNM is covering the trail and reports the judge also determined that the rifle Dominique Perez used to shoot James Boyd won’t be admitted as evidence in the trial.
The rifle wasn’t treated the way a potential murder weapon typically would be. It wasn’t locked away until the trial. Instead, it was returned to Perez after he killed Boyd, and in the two years since, it went back in circulation among police.
Balderas Has Questions About EpiPen’s Price Hike
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office has sent an investigatory letter requesting information from the manufacturer of life-saving EpiPen, an auto-injector of synthetic adrenaline that treats severe allergic reactions, after the price of the drug device jumped 500 percent. Balderas wants to make sure New Mexican children and families have access to life-saving medications.

More Mental Health Care Workers Needed
Speaking of which, mental health care professionals and service organizations are expressing concerns that there are not enough behavioral health care professionals to meet demand in northwestern New Mexico.
Presbyterian Medical Services in Farmington has 15 vacant behavioral health positions, according to Laura Ann Crawford, the northwest region director. She said she has spent three months trying to recruit people to fill those positions. Without doctors and therapists to see the patients, local providers reported people are waiting three weeks to five months before they can get an appointment.
Bear Cubs Will Return to Wilderness
The two little bear cubs that were left orphaned after their mother was killed after mauling a runner in the Valles Calderas this summer are about to released into the wild after gaining enough weight to survive on their own.


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