Justice Nakamura issues her first two opinions for the NM Supreme Court

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.

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