By Associated Press - Thursday, March 20, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico’s highest court wants the Legislature to correct what it calls an “outdated and dysfunctional” state law governing appeals of certain cases.

Cities can go directly to the state Supreme Court - rather than the Court of Appeals - to appeal lower court rulings involving violations of municipal ordinances.

The Supreme Court said Thursday the appeal statute is “contrary to sound principles of judicial and common sense,” and expressed hope that lawmakers will change the law.

The court made the comments in a ruling that reinstated charges against a Silver City man for drinking alcohol in public and possessing marijuana in violation of city ordinances.

The justices reversed a district court decision that dismissed charges against Jimmy Ferranti. The lower court had determined his arrest in 2012 was unconstitutional.

The district court ruled a city ordinance was unconstitutionally vague because it gave police the discretion to arrest someone or issue them a citation to appear in court for violations of city laws.

The Supreme Court disagreed, ruling the ordinance was valid.

Ferranti was fined $489 after being found guilty in municipal court of violating city ordinances against drinking in public and possessing marijuana. He filed a challenge in district court and won. The city appealed to the Supreme Court, and Ferranti served as his own lawyer in the case.



New Mexico Supreme Court:

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