Monday News Roundup: Commission To Select NM Chief Public Defender

Oct 7, 2013

Commission To Select NM Chief Public Defender - Associated Press

An 11-member commission is preparing to select the state's chief public defender, who administers a newly independent agency providing legal representation to criminal defendants who can't afford a lawyer.

The commission meets Tuesday in Albuquerque to interview five semi-finalists and must make a selection by Oct. 15.

Voters adopted a constitutional amendment last year that made the Public Defender Department an independent agency rather than having it under the control of the governor.

The commission will oversee the department and has the power to hire and fire the chief public defender, who previously was appointed by the governor.

Among the candidates under consideration by the commission are Barry Porter, the acting deputy chief public defender, and Lelia "Lee" Hood, who manages the department's capital crimes unit.

Aquifer Beneath Albuquerque Slowly Refilling - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

The aquifer beneath Albuquerque is showing signs it is refilling nearly five years after the city shifted from pumping groundwater to using the Rio Grande river for its supply.

Measurements from various city areas show differences in the recharge but at one spot the water level has risen by 9 feet. There's still a long way to go since water levels dropped between 80 feet 120 feet since pumping began early in the last century.

The Albuquerque Journal reports in a story in Sunday's editions that water experts say the measurements show what was expected once the city switched to river water is actually happening.

The city spent $500 million for a dam, water treatment plant and new distribution pipes to reduce reliance on dwindling groundwater supplies.

Organizers: 500 Rally For Migrants In Las Cruces - Associated Press

Organizers say about 500 people who want Congress to pass immigration reform marched in Las Cruces and rallied outside Republican Rep. Steve Pearce's office Saturday.

Jose Manuel Escobedo of the Border Network for Human Rights says about 200 marchers from the El Paso area joined 300 New Mexicans at the rally.

The march was one of many held across the nation Saturday to kick-start an immigration overhaul bill that passed the Senate in June but has stalled in the House.

Escobedo says his group opposes Pearce's push to deny immigrants citizenship as part of the overhaul and a bill he's pushing allowing local police to enforce federal immigration laws.