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In the State of New Mexico can the DA appeal a misdemeanor…

In the State of New...
In the State of New Mexico can the DA appeal a misdemeanor case that was dismissed with prejudice in Magistrate Court to the District Court?
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5/31/2018
James Daloisio
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Hi, my name is ***** ***** welcome to Just Answer.

Yes, the dismissal may be appealed by the prosecuting agency.

The New Mexico Constitution, Article VI, Section 27, provides "Sec. 27. [Appeals from probate courts and other inferior courts.] Appeals shall be allowed in all cases from the final judgments and decisions of the probate courts and other inferior courts to the district courts, and in all such appeals, trial shall be had de novo unless otherwise provided by law. (As amended November 8, 1966.)"

This interpretation of the Municipal Court as an "inferior court" within the meaning of Section 27 was approved in the case of City of Las Cruces v. Sanchez, 164 P.3d 942 (2007).

In the Sanchez case, the Municipal Court dismissed the case based upon an illegal arrest. The City appealed to the District Court. The District Court believed that the city did not have a right to appeal and dismissed the appeal. The city appealed to the Court of Appeals which in turn transferred the case to the New Mexico Supreme Court because NMSA Section 35-15-11 requires the Supreme Court to hear appeals of municipalities. The New Mexico Supreme Court reversed the District Court and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that Article VI, Section 27 gave the city an absolute right to appeal all judgments and orders of "inferior courts."

A second issue in the Sanchez case involved the application of New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) Section 35-15-11 which limited a city's right to appeal to cases holding an ordinance or section thereof invalid or unconstitutional, or that the complaint is not legally sufficient. Sanchez dealt with the city's right to appeal cases not involving ordinances or constitutional issues.

The Sanchez case is actually very interesting to read. The city appealed, and the Supreme Court went to great lengths to destroy all of the city's arguments; however, rather than finding for the defendant, the Supreme Court figured out that the city was actually right, but made the wrong argument. So they asked for supplemental briefing, and the defendant lost anyway.

Hope that answered your question. Please don't forget to rate this answer. You may always return here with follow up questions on this topic at no additional charge. Thank you for using Just Answer.

James Daloisio
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 881
Experience: 30 years experience in criminal law, continuing education.
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