Justice Nakamura took office in December, and has now issued her first two opinions for the unanimous Supreme Court:
1. In State v. Anthony Holt, the Court upheld the breaking-and-entering conviction of a man who was in the process of removing a window screen but fled when he saw the owner: “[P]utting one’s fingers behind a window screen affixed to a residential dwelling is an intrusion into an enclosed, private, prohibited space and constitutes an ‘entry’ for purposes of New Mexico’s breaking-and-entering statute.”
Last year, the Court of Appeals upheld the conviction by a 2-1 vote, a decision that I wrote about here.
2. In State v. Norman Benally, police stopped the defendant’s car and noticed that it smelled heavily of marijuana. The defendant refused to consent to a search, and police seized the car, and took it to a storage lot while they obtained a search warrant. When they executed the warrant, they found marijuana and $1,295 in cash.
The State filed a forfeiture complaint against the cash within 30 days of its discovery, but over 30 days after the car was seized. State law, however, requires that a forfeiture complaint within 30 days “of making a seizure of property.” The Court held that the 30-day period began when police seized the car, not when they actually found the money. The Court therefore upheld the dismissal of the forfeiture petition as untimely.