Civil rights invoice is about lawyer paydays » Albuquerque Journal

The New Mexico Civil Rights Act, House Bill 4, which should more appropriately be called the Personal Injury Attorney Enrichment Act, is one of those tricks politicians play by calling a harmful law fair when it’s anything but fair is.

The bill ends police skilled immunity and paves another mile on the road to making policing the most undesirable job in America. In a few years’ time, policing will be so unattractive as a career choice that we’ll have to reintroduce the draft to fill police positions. Given that three of the bill’s four sponsors are lawyers, two of whom are personal injury lawyers, it’s easy to see the benevolent name of this bill. Albuquerque attorney Scott Eaton, in his excellent Feb.17 comment, agrees that HB 4 only strengthens our state’s reputation as a lawyer’s financial haven.

This bill explicitly states that legal fees are mandatory in successful cases. This is not about accountability; It’s about more money in lawyers’ pockets. Even in moral victories where juries occasionally award a paltry sum, such as a dollar, because the prevailing plaintiff is deemed undeserved for some reason, the attorneys will cash it. And it will be your money that they use to get rich.

With all the damage to the police profession aside, am I the only one who has a problem with personal injury attorneys enforcing laws that make them money? Isn’t that an injury to something? Something? I would feel a lot better if Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, and Senator Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, swore to exclude themselves and their companies from ever benefiting from the bill. Publicly say you will never sue a police officer, jurisdiction, police training provider, or product and I’ll shut up.

No one disagrees that as Americans and New Mexicans we are endowed with certain inalienable rights at birth that can only be denied through due process. This is ensured by the US Constitution and the New Mexico Bill of Rights.

These and similar bills are only there to destroy the quality of policing in New Mexico and make our communities more dangerous than they already are. Excuse my extensive characterization, but those who apply and benefit from this law can already afford to be securely hidden in their closed communities with private security and not have to live with the consequences they cause.

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I agree with the sponsors of this law that we need police reform in this country. We need to improve the relationship between the police and the communities. We have to get rid of overly aggressive, insensitive, stupid and racist police officers. Improving the quality of those pursuing careers as police officers will go a long way toward meaningful reform. That means funding the local police, not funding.

Hopefully we’ve gotten over this idea of ​​eliminating sworn police officers by now. No matter how much we invest in healing social problems and eliminating the underlying causes of crime, someone has to be there to deal with the greedy, evil, and violent people.

If these New Mexico lawmakers are really serious about reform, how about something meaningful with long-term benefits? These band aid reform ideas that don’t fundamentally change policing for the better are a waste of time. How about legislation that requires a minimum degree of four years? How about increasing the physical and non-material rewards of policing to attract the best? Yes, I know some colleges have become Intolerant Wasteland of the First Amendment, but that can be overcome, and it is better than the alternative we are living with now.

This bill has to die. If you want quality police, reach out to your senators and ask them to vote HB 4 and turn their attention to meaningful reforms rather than selfish laws.

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