New Mexico Legislation

Contributed by Maria Gonzalez
Who found it online in the SF Chronicle
In its 1995 session, the New Mexico legislature pondered and passed a bill that set limits on the testimony of psychologists in court. Senate bill 459, written by Richard Romero, included the following language, quoted in the newsletter Dispatches:

"When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant's competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than two feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts.

"Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard . . . and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand." Before the expert's testimony about competency, the bill specified, "the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong."

Although the Senate passed the bill by a voice vote, and the House voted 46 to 14 to make it official, New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson vetoed it.

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