Sunday, March 15, 2009

When is a roadside memorial not a roadside memorial?


Click on the picture for the Journal piece.

State law says you have to respect roadside memorials. So why was this one, put up for Roy Sekreta, immediately taken down? Stay tuned.

There is one legal loophole. See section C.

30-15-7. Desecration of roadside memorials; penalty.

A. A person shall not knowingly or willfully deface or destroy, in whole or in part, a descanso, also known as a memorial, placed alongside a public road right of way to memorialize the death of one or more persons.

B. A person who violates the provisions of Subsection A of this section is:

(1) for a first offense, guilty of a petty misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978; and

(2) for a second and subsequent offense, guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to law enforcement officials or other employees of the state or a political subdivision of the state who in the course of the lawful discharge of their duties move or remove a descanso that obstructs or damages any public road in this state or to an owner of private property upon which a descanso is located.

Seems to me the government can only take it down if it is obstructing something. Put up a new memorial with flowers and a smaller ghost bike or perhaps just the bicycle wheels, and make sure it doesn't obstruct the public road in any way. Then file the lawsuit if it gets taken down.

2 comments:

mike said...

Did they ever explain who took it down or why?

Jimbo said...

Ghost Bikes are a touching tribute to (dare I say) members of our tribe who were killed, during a momentary lapse of attention or judgment. They are a modern-day, specialized version of the Descanso and should be allowed to remain. That's my opinion anyway. Too much and too many are scraped away to be "forgotten" in this day and age.