Monday, November 18, 2013

ROUNDHOUSE ROUNDUP: There Oughtta Be a Law ...

Much of the time when a new problem pops up in society, the simplest way for our political system to deal with it is simply to make it illegal. Never mind that this type of knee-jerk mentality tends to clog the courthouse and fill the jails.

That’s one reason why a subcommittee of eight legislators soon will begin the task of rewriting the state’s criminal code, which has been amended piecemeal over the years. This, some lawmakers say, has led to inconsistent, sometimes unfair penalties.

As explained to me recently by the co-chairwoman of this group, Sen. Lisa Torraco, R-Albuquerque, one of the tasks of the subcommittee will be to find laws on the books that are obsolete, unnecessary or just plain weird. (That’s my characterization, not the senator’s.) Many of these are misdemeanors, which means there’s little if any jail time involved. But as Torraco pointed out, technically, someone could serve more jail time for a “silly” crime than for a first-time drunken-driving offence.

Read more, including a few words on the state's valient effort to protect children from obscene drive-in movies, on The New Mexican's site