KUNM

Marisa Demarco

Reporter

Marisa Demarco is a reporter based in Albuquerque, N.M. She's spent more than a decade in journalism, founding the New Mexico Compass, and editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. She covered poverty and public health until September 2016 when she became a general assignment reporter at KUNM. 

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Albuquerque is the worst city in the U.S. when it comes to vehicle thefts and break-ins. But auto thefts and burglaries are each down now by almost one-third, according to a report released Sunday.

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When people are behind bars, the government is responsible for their health care. That’s in the U.S. Constitution. Anything less is considered cruel and unusual punishment. But New Mexico has a history of struggling to meet that obligation. Lawsuits about deaths and permanent health damage pile up.

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Pedestrian fatalities are up all around the United States—and New Mexico is no exception. We’re on track to have one of the worst rates in the country, and one of the worst years we’ve had in a while. Seventy-eight people were killed this year, and that number doesn’t count December. Better Burque blogger Scot Key has been following the problem for years, and he talked with KUNM about the reality of these deaths.

Alma Rosa Silva-Banuelos

Central American transgender women who are seeking asylum in the U.S. are sent by immigration officials to a detention pod in rural New Mexico. This year, volunteers from many organizations here came together to help them. The work started as kind of a scramble, but over time, quick coordination has smoothed out.

Courtesy of Roadrunner

Food banks around the country haven’t been getting the kind of big donations of nonperishable food they count on. Here in New Mexico, employees at Roadrunner Food Bank are nervous about low levels of canned and boxed meals in the warehouse.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Transgender asylum-seekers are detained in a special unit in New Mexico’s Cibola County Correctional Center. A Santa Fe legal group is working with transgender people from the new caravan at the border to try and minimize their time in lockup here.

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Let’s Talk New Mexico 11/29 8a: This week, we’re focusing on transgender folks who thrive in our community, the growing acceptance in younger generations, and gains being made around the country. Media narratives often emphasize the discrimination and violence transgender people face. Those are essential stories, but we want to add to the conversation.

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Democratic candidate for governor Michelle Lujan Grisham trounced Steve Pearce, winning the seat by almost a hundred thousand votes.

KNME Candidate Forum

Democratic U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich won a second term last night, beating Republican Mick Rich and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

Marisa Demarco/KUNM

Democrat Deb Haaland won New Mexico’s race for the open First District U.S. House seat.

Marisa Demarco/KUNM

Election night saw gains for New Mexico Democrats. Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham won the governorship by a healthy margin, outpacing opponent Steve Pearce by almost 14 percentage points. Despite deep ideological divisions between the major political parties, Lujan Grisham talked unity.

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Voters on Tuesday should expect to vote without being hassled, and to be treated courteously. You can push back if your experience is any different, or if anyone stands between you and your ballot.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Jonathan Sakura looked at the spot where his car was parked outside his home a couple nights ago when someone smashed the rear window and grabbed his girlfriend’s bag. "It’s a bummer. It’s violating," he said. "You know, this is our property. This is our stuff. And somebody taking something that doesn’t belong to them— it’s kinda disheartening, and morale drops a little bit."

Hannah Colton / KUNM

In Bernalillo County’s Metro Court, judges hear cases about drunk driving, domestic violence, drugs, traffic tickets, and small civil claims. It’s the busiest court in the state and the only one like it here. Here’s how it works: When someone wants to appeal a decision from Metro Court, they have to present the case again at District Court across the street and get an OK before it heads up to Appeals Court. This election, there’s a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would free lawmakers up to change this appeals system.

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As people in New Mexico look over their ballots, they might run into a whole mess of judges—often folks they don’t know anything about. The state’s Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission—or JPEC—was created to help. The commission interviews judges, watches them in court and sends around confidential surveys to their staff and to lawyers. KUNM spoke with JPEC's vice-chair, former District Court Judge James Hall, about how these reviews helped him when he was on the bench.

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