Section 30-3A-2 NMSA 1978 Harassment
30-3A-2. Harassment; penalties.
A. Harassment consists of knowingly pursuing a pattern of conduct that is intended to annoy, seriously alarm or terrorize another person and that serves no lawful purpose. The conduct must be such that it would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.
B. Whoever commits harassment is guilty of a misdemeanor.
New Mexico has a statute specifically addressing harassment, NM Stat § 30-3A-2. On February 22, 2021, David and Judith Pierce attempted to use this statute to force the removal of their activities from this website, and presumably have the author arrested. While it is unclear how anyone could consider truthful, accurate depictions of things a person has done as being harassing, it is somewhat telling that the Pierce's consider themselves to be victims of a neighbor they have expended so much effort and hostility against. A reasonable question to ask would be, for what purpose have the Pierce's engaged their neighbor in this way? There must be some reason for their behavior. Someone should ask them to articulate their grievance with this family.
ELEMENTS OF HARASSMENT
If we examine the statute from a layman's perspective, it seems overly broad and vague. Simply annoying someone could constitute harassment. Every third-grader in New Mexico is in serious legal jeopardy if this were true. A person could also simply lie and claim annoyance. It is annoying to wait in line, for example. Surely the purpose of law is not merely to stop such a subjective occurrence as annoyance.
Moving on to behavior that would seriously alarm a person, most would agree that this crosses a line. However, it is also very subjective. Every prank show on television has demonstrated deliberate behavior designed, in some way, to cause alarm. They call that entertainment. It could be argued that some pranks even cross the line into terrorizing the subject. Every Halloween some people try very hard to scare people as much as is humanly possible, at times doing it so well they can charge money for the experience.
It is illegal to harass a person, almost everyone would agree. What people do not tend to agree on is what behavior constitutes harassment.
This article intends to discuss the issue in-depth using a real-world scenario. Certainly motive is a significant factor in defining harassment. Someone playing loud music can be annoying while not constituting harassment. If, however, they play loud music outside your bedroom window every night from midnight until 6:00 AM they are likely acting in a harassing manner.
Unfortunately, for one homeowner at least, we have a specific set of behaviors to consider and contrast, leaving it to the reader to determine for themselves what they would and would not consider harassment.
David and Judith Pierce have complained to the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office (DACSO) that information contained within this website constitutes the crime of harassment against them. It could be assumed that they are annoyed at having their activities exposed in such a way that any interested person can examine the evidence presented and make up their own minds as to what has occurred. It certainly should not alarm them that they have, for example, used their neighbor's driveway as if it were their own, even to the point that the property owner could not park in his own driveway or get his vehicle into or out of his garage. They claim permission but only asked on two occasions.
Each reader can ask themselves, for example, how many times have they parked in their neighbor's driveway, including overnight. If the answer is hundreds of times you probably would be upset if you were asked to stop, as the Pierce's were when their neighbor finally said enough is enough. Most reasonable people do not park their vehicles in other people's driveways, nor do they instruct their guests to do so.
A person could also consider how much dirt they can dump in their neighbor's yard before it would be considered an issue, or how much of their trash can blow into their neighbor's yard regularly. If the Pierce's were required by EMHA to follow the rules, their trash would not blow into their neighbor's yard.
This website is, as it says on the home page, dedicated to disseminating information specific to the El Mirador subdivision located in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The bulk of information presented is documentary evidence of what a homeowner believes to be wrongful behavior, directed at him and his family, by the El Mirador Homeowners Association, Inc. Board of Directors, Design Review Committee, and his neighbors, David and Judith Pierce. It certainly would be reasonable to expect that any person relating the truth can do so without fear of arrest or persecution by the government.
Logic would dictate that, if people did not commit such acts against another, they would not have to worry about it being posted online.
SCENARIO 2: ABUSE OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES
Let us examine another way someone could harass others, by calling the authorities for little or no reason. This vexatious behavior could certainly demonstrate a person's "knowingly pursuing a pattern of conduct that is intended to annoy, seriously alarm or terrorize another person and that serves no lawful purpose."