New Mexico

All data is current as of 2013, unless otherwise noted.
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How the right to counsel is administered and structured

State commission: yes
Branch of government: judicial

The New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender is a department in the judicial branch. The department is responsible for the provision of right to counsel throughout the state’s trial and appellate courts.

The Law Offices of the Public Defender is overseen by an independent, 11-member Public Defender Commission appointed by diverse authorities: Governor (1 appointee); Chief Justice (3); Dean of University of New Mexico School of Law (3); Speaker of the House of Representatives (1); Senate President (1); and majority floor leaders of each chamber (one each). The commission selects the state’s chief public defender.


How the right to counsel is funded

Percentage of state funding: 100%
Percentage of local funding: 0%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%

The methods used to provide public counsel

The New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender provides right to counsel services through a mixture of traditional public defender offices and contracts with private attorneys. The department’s 12 branch public defender offices are located in and serve the state’s more urban areas. In rural parts of the state, the agency has a Contract Counsel Legal Services division that administers contracts with private attorneys on a flat-fee-per-case basis.


Legal authority

New Mexico Constitution, art. II, § 14 (right to counsel), and art. VI, § 39 (public defender department & commission)

New Mexico Statutes Annotated, §§ 31-15-1 through 31-15-12 (public defender act)

Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff.