Republican Legislative Leaders Slam Gov. MLG’s Proposal To Strengthen Supervised Outpatient Treatment Program For People With Severe Mental ILLness As “Undoable” In Special Session; Three Of Governor’s Proposed Measures Should Be Withdrawn;  Special Session Should Concentrate On Changing Mental Health Treatment Laws; Create Statewide Mental Health Court, Consolidate With Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program And  Build Treatment Facilities

On June 6, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Office outlined to the Court, Corrections and Justice Interim Committee five public-safety measures she wants legislators to address during the July 18 special session of the New Mexico legislature.

The 5 public safety bills are summarized as follows:

The first bill  would make changes to the state’s criminal competency law. The first bill would send criminal defendants who are found incompetent to stand trial to a mental health or behavioral health treatment program. Supporters say there are far too many suspects who are arrested, deemed incompetent to stand trial, and then released back on the streets only to commit more crimes. It’s a bill designed to address in part the  so-called “revolving door” where defendants are arrested only to be found incompetent to stand trial and then released.  The bill, which did not make it very far in the previous legislative session, is at the top of the special session agenda. The legislation is intended to strengthen a 2016 law and a program originally signed into law by former Governor Susana Martinez that allows district judges to order involuntary treatment for people with severe mental illness who have frequent brushes with law enforcement. It involves a program called the “Assisted Outpatient Treatment” (AOT).

The second bill  would  expand a program that mandates involuntary treatment for people with mental illness. The bill is an assisted out-patient treatment bill proposal that would allow a judge to mandate out-patient treatment, including involuntarily commitments. It would  allow individuals, whether first responders, family members or community members who work with mentally ill individuals on the streets to request involuntary out-patient treatment.

The third bill  would strengthen penalties for a felon convicted of possessing a firearm, making the crime a second-degree felony, punishable by a minimum of nine years in prison.

The fourth bill  would prohibit pedestrians from occupying highway medians, on-ramps and exit ramps.  The bill is intended to address individuals loitering on street medians despite a similar bill receiving pushback in the 2024 legislature over its constitutionality. It failed to pass. Agajanian said that the new median bill would contain language that says that in places where a speed limit is more than 30 miles per hour, individuals may not loiter on a median that is 36 inches or less

The fifth bill would require law enforcement agencies to report certain monthly crime incident reports and ballistic information.

Three of the five measures are leftovers from the 2024 legislative session. Those 3 measures are median safety bill that is often described as a panhandling ban, increasing penalties for felons caught with firearms, and new data collection and sharing requirements for law enforcement agencies.  It is the two new proposals on mental health commitments that are complicated. One of them is reworking the state’s criminal competency laws, ideally making it easier for the courts to mandate certain suspects into behavioral health treatments. The other is an assisted outpatient treatment bill.


On Monday, June 10, three Republican House leaders sent a letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham criticizing her decision to make changes and strengthen behavioral health legislation in a special session calling the legislation too complex for a Special Session.  The Governor wants to expand a court-supervised outpatient treatment program for people with severe mental illness.  The governor is asking lawmakers to make revisions to the complex system judges use to determine mental competency for people charged with criminal offenses.  The  Bill  is intended to expand a 2016 law that allows district judges to order involuntary treatment for people with severe mental illness who are frequently jailed or hospitalized.

In a letter signed by House Republican Leader Rod Montoya, House Republican Whip Alan Martinez and Republican Caucus Chair Gail Armstrong they call the governor’s plan “undoable.”  The Republican leadership in the letter tell the Governor:

“Making such major changes to these highly complex systems during a two- or three-day special session is simply not good public policy and will undoubtedly result in many unintended consequences due to the lack of needed consideration and debate.”

The Republican lawmakers  criticize what they describe as a lack of analysis of the cost of the proposals and “no apparent plan as to how many behavioral health service providers will be needed.”  They also questioned the need to revise existing statutes.


Governor Lujan Grisham was quick to fire back asserting that the legislation can be passed if lawmakers “roll up their sleeves and work with me to get it done.”  The governor said in a written statement:

“Republicans contend that making New Mexico a safer place during the special session under my proposals is ‘undoable’ — an assertion I flatly reject.  … State lawmakers of both parties must ask themselves if they are comfortable with more crime and more homelessness, because business owners and rank-and-file New Mexicans are fed up.”

The Governor called on lawmakers to help pass her “common-sense public safety reform agenda” at the special session and she said this: .

“We can make our state safer but it’s going to require some hard work, a can-do attitude, and a collaborative approach.”


One of the governor’s proposals is intended to strengthen a 2016 law that allows district judges to order involuntary treatment for people with severe mental illness who have frequent brushes with law enforcement. The program is called the Assisted Outpatient Treatment, or AOT, was approved by lawmakers in 2016.

The court-supervised Assisted Outpatient Treatment program is intended for those who have a history of arrests and hospitalizations and who do not or who are unlikely to voluntarily adhere to prescribed treatments.  The law passed in 2016 allows for State District Court Judges to order people into mandatory treatment programs, which includes medication, therapy or drug testing. Participants have to be at least 18 years old, have a mental illness diagnosis and have a history of not following through with treatments ordered. Under the original law passed, cities and counties have to opt into the program to participate.

In the eight years since the law was enacted, only Doña Ana County, in the state’s 3rd Judicial District, has implemented a functioning AOT program.  Holly Agajanian, chief general counsel for the Governor’s Office, told members of the House Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee last week that legislation is needed to expand the program statewide.  Agajanian told lawmakers:

“Even though jurisdictions are already statutorily allowed to implement these programs, they aren’t doing it.”

In a written statement issued June 11, House Republican Whip Alan Martinez said the proposals would be better addressed in the 60-day regular session in 2025 after careful study this year. Martinez said this:

“The result will be many unintended consequences that could make the behavioral health system even more inefficient and costly.”


Former State Senator Mary Kay Papen, who co-sponsored the 2016 AOT legislation, applauded Lujan Grisham’s effort to expand the program. Papen said this:

“I’m excited that the governor is going to be behind this. … If you get the right people enthusiastic about it and willing to work with it, and you get the right judge who will work with it, it will be successful wherever it goes into place.”

Former Senator Papen said Doña Ana County had the necessary core of people enthusiastic about implementing an AOT program and she said this:

“I think we just embraced it. … We just have the right combination of people here who were interested in it. It’s not just the same old, same old.”

On June 6, Jamie Michael, Doña Ana County’s director of Health and Human Services Department, told the Court, Corrections and Justice Interim Committee that the county started its AOT program with support from a federal grant and ongoing funding from the county’s gross-receipts tax. She estimated that the program serves about 40 people a year at no cost to the individual. Of central importance is identifying a district judge to champion the program. Michael said this:

“The judge is important, and they need to be well trained and really buy into to the program. … It’s important to find a judge who really wants to do this program and who has the ability to connect and communicate well, show empathy, show motivation.”

Under the AOT program, a District Court  judge has the authority to commit a person to mandatory outpatient treatment through a civil-court process. It is not a voluntary program. Participants are not allowed to  opt out of the program after a few weeks.  It’s an involuntary court order that requires a person to follow the treatment plan as ordered by the court.  According to Michael the involvement of a judge has a “black-robe effect” that tends to make people more likely to follow the program’s requirements.

The program typically enrolls people when they are discharged from a hospital with a serious mental health diagnosis. The program also uses a peer-support staff to engage the person.  Michael said this:

“It really supports people who are already kind of engaged in that treatment program,  that treatment system in their community,  but don’t have that extra help to make it a habit and then extra support to help them engage better.”

The link to relied upon and quoted news source is here:


During the June 6 meeting of the Court, Corrections and Justice Interim Committee both Democrats and Republicans asked why a special session was needed to be called for legislation that they believed could or should be addressed during a regular session of the legislature.  Even some Democrats took issue with Governor Lujan Grisham’s special session proposals.

Mesilla Democrat State Representative Micaela Lara Cadena said it was hard for her not to feel that the Governor’s proposals are more about “political wins.”  Cadena said this:

“I was part of tabling or not passing bills my good friend Representative (Bill) Rehm brought. We put them in the dumpster and now we’re slapping some Democrat’s names on them and plagiarizing Representative Rehm here….Folks have been trying to have these conversations for a long time now and very quickly in a short summer we have to go because New Mexico is in crisis?”

Several members of the committee expressed concern about the portion of the assisted out-patient treatment program proposal that would allow individuals who have a relationship with the individual suffering mental health problems to seek a process by which the individual could be placed into treatment involuntarily.

Albuquerque Democrat State Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, a licensed New Mexico attorney, said she was worried the mandatory mental health commitment law changes could violate an individual’s constitutional rights.

Albuquerque Democrat State Senator Katy Duhigg said she didn’t feel she had been presented with “great data that this is a solution that solves this problem and that is data I’d want to see before passing this legislation.” Duhigg said she found data from other countries with a quick online search that suggests that involuntary mental health treatment could lead to worse outcomes, rather than better ones. Duhigg asked why the state needed legislative changes in order to establish the assisted outpatient treatment program in every county. In response The Governor’s Chief General Counsel Holly Agajanian said this in response:

“I have to go back to the fact that I don’t suggest that they don’t have the authority to do it on their own. I’m suggesting, it hasn’t been done. We need to require it.”

New Mexico State Representative Christine Chandler, District 23 represents Los Alamos, Sandoval & Santa Fe counties. She chairs the House Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee. Representative Chandler said this about the Special Session:

“I wouldn’t call it optimism, I think maybe you might say people are hopeful we’ll have a productive session. …. You’ll see from our agenda that we’re definitely putting in the work. I am approaching it, and I think my colleagues are approaching it in good faith, and with a willingness to try to resolve the issues.”

During the June 6 committee hearing, Chandler  asked if the legislature would be mandating that the judicial branch set up these assisted outpatient treatment programs.  Agajanian said the proposal breaks up the areas for the treatment programs based on the judicial boundaries of the state court system because those are smaller than regional boundaries and that would make it easier for an officer to take an individual suffering mental health problems to treatment rather than to jail.  Agajanian also said the court would have a memorandum of understanding with the county and either Medicaid, private insurance or indigent funds would pay for the treatment.


Chandler said the Assisted Outpatient Treatment measure expanding the program and allowing involuntary treatment for people with mental illness is by far the most complex measure.  She noted the original law took three years to pass, and now Governor Lujan Grishma is asking state lawmakers to make significant changes to the law in just a few weeks.  She noted there is also the looming issue when it comes to behavioral health treatment in New Mexico itself.

Representative Chandler said this:

“[The legislation] is aimed at providing an avenue for people who are concerned about individuals with serious mental illness. … I believe the governor is interested in maybe loosening it up a little bit, so that it will be easier to encourage them and require them to get treatment. It’s not a voluntary program, it is requiring these individuals who meet the criteria to get treatment. … The concern of many of us, me included, is that we can set up these laws, you know, we can work very hard to make the best possible law that we can. But if there aren’t the behavioral health resources and professionals to assist these people, it’s all for naught.”

Chandler said state lawmakers seems to understand the governor’s motivations to expand behavioral health resources, and they are giving it their best effort, but she’s not fully confident it’ll get done during the special session. She said this:

“I would hate to think there would be no bills, but there certainly is that possibility. …  I don’t think it will be, you know, all the time will be wasted, because I think we’ll have some good discussions that will lay the groundwork for the 60 day.”

Chandler said the committee will meet again at least twice before the special session begins.


It was in 2007, a full 9 years before the Assisted Outpatient Treatment was created, that the Second Judicial Court located in Bernalillo County established the states only specialized Mental Health Court (MHC).  It is a state-certified specialty treatment court program specifically for individuals whose involvement with the legal system is directly related to an untreated or un-stabilized mental health disorder, indicating a clear need for intervention, treatment and support. The program serves individuals charged and/or convicted of felony level charges within Bernalillo County.

Mission And Goal Of Mental Health Court 

The Mission and Goal of the Mental Health Court are very straight forward:

Engage individuals with serious mental health diagnosis who are involved in the criminal system. The program strives to improve one’s quality of life through treatment, linkage to community resources, specialized supervision and extensive supportive measures.

The overall goal of the MHC program is to minimize and/or eliminate involvement with the criminal justice system while improving one’s overall mental health and quality of living.

Focus of Mental Health Court

The Mental Health Court has an overall focus on assisting with improving participants’ quality of life, appropriate treatment services and discontinuing involvement with the criminal justice system.  The program includes both pre and post plea tracks. The program serves individuals at high levels of risk and need, as assessed. The program duration typically ranges from 18-24 credit earned months. Time in the program is dependent on the severity of risk and need, level of participation and overall progression through the program.

The Mental Health Court (MHC) team members take into special consideration that participants typically have extensive trauma histories, limited support systems and a history of substance abuse, mental health and co-occurring disorders. In addition, participants often lack basic resources such as housing, education and/or employment.  In an effort to meet the individualized needs of each participant, MHC provides intensive clinical case management, individual, group, and family treatment services, housing, academic and vocational support through community service providers.

The services provided are unique to the person and are identified through individualized assessments and treatment planning. Each participant is given ample opportunity to receive the needed services to develop the life skills needed to live a life that is substance and criminal justice free.

The program is 100% voluntary, and is an alternative to the standard judicial process. The courts current capacity is 35.  The recidivism rate from September 1, 9/1/2017 to 1/1/2023 is  5.5% with a success rate of 94.5%

Pre-Adjudication, Post-Adjudication

Program referrals are accepted from attorneys, judges, treatment providers, community agencies, family members and from individuals involved in the justice system that are interested in participating in jail diversion programs, as an alternative to traditional court processes.

The MHC program accepts both pre-adjudication and post-adjudication referrals:

Pre-Adjudication: Participants can screen for the program pre-adjudication upon a referral to determine eligibility.

Post-Adjudication: Participants enter the program upon the filing of a formal plea agreement or upon a trial conviction. Sentencing is completed upon graduation of the program. Participants are advised appropriately of the possible sentence and penalties they may face, should termination or a voluntary withdrawal occur.

Eligibility For Mental Health Court

There are 4 major eligibility criteria to for the court:

  1. MHC accepts individuals with a Serious Mental Health Illness (SMI) as a primary diagnosis.
  2. Participants must have current felony charges-pending in Bernalillo County.
  3. Participants must have identifiable substance abuse, mental health and/or social service needs, and be willing to participate in treatment for the duration of the program. Treatment services may include psychiatric evaluation, medication management, substance abuse individual and/or group counseling, and other behavioral treatment services as recommended.
  4. Participants are not excluded from participation in MHC due to lack of residence and/ or stable residence.

All referrals are reviewed and considered on a case-by-case basis and a decision is made if a person is disqualified.

Disqualification Criteria For Mental Health Court 

There are 5 areas where a person can be disqualified from court participation:

  1. Individuals who have pending charges or who have been convicted of capital offenses and/or sex offenses are disqualified.
  2. Individuals who have been found incompetent, or competency is pending and/or do not have the cognitive capacity to participate in the program are disqualified.
  3. Individuals who do not engage in completing clinical assessments and who stop showing up for program requirements are disqualified.
  4. Individuals unwilling to follow treatment recommendations (e.g. medication management, counseling, case management services), are disqualified.
  5. Individuals with cognitive impairment or learning disabilities that prohibit the ability to advance through the program are disqualified.

Service Delivery For Mental Health Court 

Community treatment and case management is provided by many entities in the community. Referrals for clients are based on need and agency availability. Participants complete a therapeutic assessment and develop an individualized treatment plan that focuses on identifying strengths and addressing needs. Services are strength-based and client centered for individuals who are challenged by substance abuse and co-occurring disorders and/or are deemed high-risk to reoffend in the community. Clients are ideally engaged in MHC for a period of 18 to 24 (credit-earned) months by transitioning through four phases, with an ongoing relationship of care in the areas of treatment, case management, housing, medication, stability, job readiness, parenting, and educational referrals.

The link to the quoted source is here:


The are laws on that books that deal with when and under what circumstances formal civil commitment hearings can be initiated for 3-day, 7-day and even 30-day observation and diagnostic evaluations for the mentally ill and the drug addicted. These time frames to allow treatment can be expanded to allow for far more time, perhaps 6 months to a year or even two years and could be made mandatory.  The civil commitment deals with those who are a danger to themselves and others.  The law also  provides that the District Attorney can initiate civil mental health commitment actions for evaluations and treatment.

The link to review the applicable New Mexico state statutes NM Statute §43-1-1 (2019), NM Stat § 43-1-1 (2019), NM Stat § 43-1-11 (2020) on civil mental health commitments is here:,grounds%20exist%20to%20commit%2


There are 13 Judicial District Courts in the State of New Mexico that are courts of general jurisdictions that handle both civil and criminal matters for the 33 counties in the State of New Mexico. Each of the 13 Judicial District Courts have primary jurisdiction over one or more counties based on population.

State District Courts are primary courts of jurisdiction over criminal cases, including felonies and misdemeanor cases. State District Courts have jurisdictions over civil matters with disputes of more than $10,000, domestic relations, mental health and civil commitment cases, appeals from administrative agencies, disputes over real estate, contract disputes, tort actions for personal injury.  District Court criminal convictions and criminal matters are appealable to the one New Mexico Court of Appeals and/or the New Mexico Supreme Court.

New Mexico also has a small claims court or Magistrate Court and Metropolitan Court System that are courts of limited jurisdiction that handle civil disputes of up to $10,000 and misdemeanor criminal matters and appeals are to the State District Courts.

An Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has been established and is funded by the New Mexico legislature to enable the courts to accomplish their mission by ensuring that the courts have adequate, equitable distributed resources. The AOC ensures that the courts have and use current technology and it provides a statewide human resources system. The AOC is responsible for developing and implementing improved court processes and supporting the courts in their  use.  The AOC ensures sound financial, budgeting and procurement practices in the management of court resources.


On May 22, 2023  the NM Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) released a report on the state’s homeless and the affordable housing shortage which included the preliminary estimates of the 2023 Point In Time (PIT) annual homeless count. The “Point in Time” (PIT) survey is conducted once a year to determine how many people experience homelessness on a given night in communities across New Mexico. The PIT count is the official number of homeless reported by communities to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

According to the LFC Report on Homelessness and Affordable Housing, New Mexico’s homeless numbers increased 48% in 2023 going from upwards of 2,600 people to 3,842. The increase was driven by an increase in the unsheltered count with 780 more people in Albuquerque and 232 more in the rest of the state.  About half the emergency shelter beds available were used indicating overall adequate bed numbers statewide. However, shelter accessibility was reported as significantly lowering utilization rates because some individual emergency shelters are full while others are extremely hard to reach.

According to the LFC report the causes of homelessness points to many risk factors representative of vulnerable situations and populations. The following 7 risk factors for homelessness and housing insecurity were identified:

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH:  Over 1-in-5 adults in New Mexico have a mental illness. Nearly 1 in 5 youths had a major depressive episode in the last year.  New Mexico ranks 29th for adult mental health disorders and 17th youth mental health disorders in the country.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE:  On average, every day five New Mexicans die of alcohol-related causes, and nearly three die from a drug overdose. New Mexico ranks 1st alcohol-related deaths and 2nd  in drug overdose deaths in the country.

POVERTY: Nearly 1-in-5 New Mexicans live below the federal poverty line. New Mexico ranks 3rd in the country in poverty

LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION: In 2022, the labor force participation rate in New Mexico was 55%, compared to 62% nationally. New Mexico ranks 4th in labor force participation.

PHYSICAL HEALTH:  Nearly 1-in-10 adults in New Mexico have multiple chronic health conditions.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:  In New Mexico, over 1-in-3 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Nearly 6,000 children suffered maltreatment in New Mexico in 2021. New Mexico ranks 26th in the country for domestic violence and 8th for child maltreatment.

INCARCERATION:  New Mexico has a relatively low incarceration rate, with 203 individuals incarcerated per population of 100,000.

According to the LFC report, people experiencing unsheltered homelessness are more likely to exhibit multiple risk factors. These individuals tend to have higher service needs, tend to be more frequent users of community services, such as emergency room visits and inpatient and outpatient treatments, and require more acute care.

The Point In Time data breakdown for the unsheltered for the years 2009 to 2022 reports 46% of the unsheltered suffer from serious mental illness and that 44% of the unsheltered suffer from substance abuse for a staggering 89% combined total.  When it comes to the  homeless in Albuquerque, 30.19% of the homeless  self-reported as having a serious mental illness and  25.5% self-reported as substance abusers.

There is an overlap with homeless suffering both mental illness and substance abuse.  In other words, a whopping 55.69% combined total of those surveyed self-reported as having a serious mental illness or were substance abusers. When it comes to the balance of the state homeless numbers, 43% were identified as adults with serious mental illness and 40% were identified as adults with substance use disorders or a staggering 83% combined figure.

The link to the entire  2023  PIT survey is here:


It’s very disappointing that the Governor has failed to reach any real consensus with legislative leaders on what needs to be done and what measures should be enacted before the special session she has called.  All five measures Governor Lujan Grisham is proposing for the Special Session are a good start, but in no way come even close to what is actually needed. Three of the measures should be withdrawn.


Three of the Governors measures are ones that can not be consider as a having a real sense of urgency and she should withdraw those measures.  All 3 should be handled in the regular session for the following reasons:

The bill that would strengthen penalties for a felon convicted of possessing a firearm, making the crime a second-degree felony, punishable by a minimum of nine years in prison is one that standing alone will not make that much of a difference.  During the Governors tenure, the legislature has in fact increased criminal penalties of crimes upwards of 6 times.

The bill to prohibit pedestrians from occupying highway medians, on-ramps and exit ramps is an exercise in futility. Such laws are difficult to enforce and law enforcement needs to concentrate on far more serious crime. Albuquerque has enacted such an ordinance, as has other communities, and it goes unenforced as panhandlers and the unhoused continue to occupy medians and on ramps and as the ACLU is saucerful at  challenging the laws in court.

The bill that would require law enforcement agencies to report certain monthly crime incident reports and ballistic information could likely be accomplished by executive orders and does not necessarily need legislation. Better cooperation between law enforcement is what is needed.


Warehousing the mentally ill, drug addicted or the unhoused who are mentally ill or drug addicted in jails for crimes committed is not the answer and does not address treatment. The court’s must be looked to as part of the solution. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the legislature should strengthen and expand the state’s mental health commitment laws coupled with full funding for mental health facilities. The legislature in Special Session should seek to create and  designate a  14th Judicial District Court  specialty “Mental Health Treatment Court” functioning as outreach and treatment court for the drug addicted and the mentally ill in mandatory  hospital or counseling settings and not involving jail incarceration.

The creation of a new 14th Judicial District Court designated as a  Mental Health Court  should have 3 separate regional divisions: one located in Albuquerque, one in Las Cruces and one in Las Vegas, New Mexico with the creation of at least 3 District Court Judge positions with 6 year terms.   The Assisted Outpatient Treatment program should be consolidated with the Mental Health Court so as to achieve one singular court with statewide jurisdiction.  The Administrative Offices of the Courts must play  a pivotal role in setting up the new court process, including locating the new Mental Health Treatment Court in existing court houses in all 3 locations.

As has been  pointed out by New Mexico State Representative Christine Chandler, there is a major  need for the construction and staffing of a mental health facilities or hospitals to provide the services needed to the mentally ill or drug addicted. As it stands now, there exists less than adequate facilities where patients can be referred to for civil mental health commitments and treatment.  In other words there is nowhere for people to go or be placed to get the mental health and drug treatment needed. There is glaring need for a behavioral health hospital and drug rehabilitation treatment facilities.  The Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Center and the Las Vegas Mental Health hospital could be expanded to accommodate for court referrals and a new behavioral health facility could be constructed in Las Cruces to handle mental health commitment and treatment.

New Mexico is currently experiencing historical surplus revenues and this past legislative session the legislature had an astonishing $3.6 Billion in surplus revenue. Now is the time to create a statewide Mental Health Court and dedicate funding for the construction of behavioral health hospital and drug rehabilitation treatment facilities the courts can rely upon for referrals.  Creation of a new court system must include funding for District Attorneys and Public Defenders with dedicated personnel resources for the filing and defending of civil mental health commitments as prescribed by law.

A statewide mental health court with mandatory civil commitments will get treatment to those who need it the most, help get the unhoused off the streets and help families with loved ones who resist any mental health treatment.

Links to related blog article are here:

Convening Special Session Of NM Legislator For Public Safety Must Include Expanding Existing Mental Health Court; Create New 14th Judicial District Court With 3 Regional Divisions For Mental Health Commitment Hearings; Build Regional Treatment Facilities And Hospitals For Mandatory Treatment Ordered

ABQ Journal Dinelli Guest Opinion Column: “Lawmakers should set up statewide mental health court”; Related Column: Laws, Statistics, and Resources Needed To Create 14th Judicial District Court For Mental Health Commitment Court




This entry was posted in Opinions by . Bookmark the permalink.


Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.