By Marty Mayfield
KRTN Multi-Media –
In New Mexico the evidentiary part of a criminal investigation takes a long time to navigate. Case in point DNA evidence has just recently been returned to the Raton Police Department on a 2-year old burglary case noted Sergeant Noberto Dominguez at the community wide neighborhood watch meeting held at the Raton Convention Center Monday evening.
Deputy Sheriff Sergeant Bill LaPorte noted that he too has just received DNA evidence back on a 2-year old case. When asked about video evidence it was noted that if it is good quality video evidence it could be as important as DNA and lead to a much quicker result in arrests.
LaPorte noted that in order for the evidence to be used in court it had to be handled properly with a proper chain of custody to prevent tampering and maintain its integrity. That integrity has to be maintained in order for it not to be picked apart by a defense attorney and rendered useless or inadmissible in court.
The video has to retrieved as soon as possible after the incident occurs and preserved on a device that can be protected from tampering. The video as evidence then makes its way through the judicial process following a rigid chain of custody.
Rich Kuhns noted in his comments on security systems, video is only the proof that so and so entered your property. He recommended that the best deterrent is light and noise which most often is activated via motion detection equipment. He noted that in order for video to fully protect a structure it could take as many as eight cameras or more depending on the design of the building and based on the angle of coverage a camera can offer.
Kuhns noted to make a security system effective you have to know what you are protecting, property or life. He added that most criminals steal for money, drugs or food and that keeping valuables picked up and out of sight is as important to protecting them as a security system.
Other deterrents include signs indicating that the premises is under surveillance. Motion detection equipment that can also warn you that it has been triggered as well as setting off some kind of warning system such as light and noise. Anything that could bring attention to the fact that someone may be in an area they are not supposed to be in.
Programs like neighborhood watches and crimestoppers programs that tell crooks that they are being watched are also helpful. Recently the crimstoppers program in Raton has been revitalized and is getting underway with a web page and facebook page to help get the word out about crimes in the area that need help in solving. The Raton crimstoppers have also set up a tip line at 575-245-8477.
Again its noted that in order for this work it takes community involvement. Crimestoppers will be presenting programs to Raton school students as well as to other organizations in the future. If you or your neighborhood is interested in starting a neighborhood watch program in your neighborhood and would like more information, contact the Raton Police Department or Colfax County Sheriff and Laura Brewer can also provide you with information that they have used in starting the neighborhood watch program in north Raton. Contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 575-445-8000
As a post script to the Neighborhood Watch Meeting on March 28th, 8th District Judge Emilio Chavez sent the following information concerning the law on Trespassing.
To All Concerned,
Yesterday at the Neighborhood Watch meeting there was a question regarding trespass. I have attached all of the applicable statutes and jury instructions on criminal trespass. Some of the annotations explain the case law in NM.
The simple answer is there are several different types of trespass. (1) posted as required by statute; (2) unposted and being asked to leave; (3)drives onto fenced lands not on permissible roadway; (4) without permission and damages property.
1. If there is the proper posted notice, it is criminal trespass simply by entering the property.
2. If you ask someone to leave and they don’t or they come back to your property after being informed that they do not have permission to be on the property, it is trespass.
3. If they drive onto your fenced property, not on a designated roadway or driveway without permission, it is trespass.
4. If they enter your property without permission and damage some type of property, it is trespass.
Please be aware civil damages are twice the amount of the damage to the property.
I hope this answers some of the questions regarding trespass. Please feel free to review the material and ask any other questions that you may have regarding trespass or the courts.
Judge Emilio J. Chavez