There are many of us who have done things in our youth that we regret, one of these is committing a crime and being arrested. Some of us make the choice to straighten our lives out, become law abiding citizens, and give back to the community..
This all started when I was waving a knife around in my kitchen where my brother and his two friends were sitting. They had put me in an ambulance and told me they were taking me to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital I was told they were going to give me treatment for my long history of mental health issues, but I was given two shots that put me in a coma like state. The next day I woke up I found myself in the BCMDC PAC units. Months passed and when my hearing came, I was offered plea's for my crimes. The initial crimes I was being accused of - two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and two counts of child abuse. I was being accused of these because my brother and his friends at the time were under the age of 18 (they were 16 and 17) and I was 19 at the time. They had said I scared them by acting erratic and "crazy". Now I never hurt anyone nor did I have the intent to hurt anyone but myself. I agreed that waving the knife around like that could be considered aggravated assault. I was told by my public defender that I would lose no matter what if I had gone to trial and that agreeing to a plea would be the only way I could redeem myself.
The state of New Mexico has a "plea trap" called a 'conditional discharge' or 'deferred sentence'. For first time offenders they attempt to scare you into signing this plea that you will be forgiven for your first time offense, but that isn't the case. The state of New Mexico has no intent to give us that opportunity and that is wrong. I served three years of intensely supervised probation with great behavior and no dirty drug tests. I was told the whole time that my felonies would be removed after I completed probation successfully. I called my public defender after completion and she told me my felonies never go away. I was left to continue being punished.
When I was young, I had problems with depression and other mental health issues including Bipolar disorder. I still continue to struggle with these problems today, but I've done my very best to keep my behavior in control. If you asked the people around me today if I've made drastic changes to better my life, they would tell you that I've done a great job. Now I know this isn't an excuse for the crimes I have committed, but I have worked very hard in my life to show my family, friends, and world that I am a law abiding citizen. Show that I do care about my community and want to give back. I think people in my circumstance should be allowed a second chance to show we can make a change for the better.
I petition that Susana Martinez (Gov.) of the state of New Mexico should allow that one time offenders, who haven't committed a crime in 7 years after conviction (down to a third degree felony) be allowed to have their record expunged. I do believe ones case should still be looked at closely and certain guidelines should still be followed. But it should be made more realistic for us who believe we deserve our rights to a felony free life back.
As it stand right now the only way to have a felony removed is by means of a pardon to the governor. The guidelines restrict what you can include greatly and if not followed you may not even be heard again, if you even get heard the first time.
I am a young guy who had made a serious mistake in my youth. Not only am I discriminated against by having mental health issues, but I am seen as a monster by jobs and organizations. The state makes me look to be someone who would stab people for nothing and that I hurt children, that I am the scum of society. I can't get a job to raise my daughter, I can't get an apartment or house. I can't bear firearms, but somehow I can vote? I have given much of my time to volunteer to help my community and I have not committed any crimes since.
We need this law changed for those of us who have changed and whom have struggled to make our and other's lives better. This is a brutal punishment for the rest of my life and something I would never even think about doing again.
Joshua Priest started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,142 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.