- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The state Supreme Court has ruled that convicted felons in New Mexico can hold public office if they received a deferred sentence and charges are dismissed.

The court issued the decision Thursday in answering a state law question from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver in a New Mexico man’s appeal over a federal charge of being a felon in possession of firearms.

Judges can defer sentencing until an offender completes a period of probation, and charges are dismissed if the individual complies with the probation conditions. The conviction remains in court records, but the justices said a person’s civil rights are restored, including the ability to hold public office.

The court said the Legislature “established the deferred sentence as a means of judicial clemency.”

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