ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A candidate for the state legislature who is a convicted felon is allowed to stay on the ballot. A judge ruled Republican Solomon Pena is qualified to run to represent House District 14 in southwest Albuquerque.

Pena served five years in prison for leading a burglary ring targeting dozens of Albuquerque businesses. Pena says since that 2008 conviction, he has graduated from the University of New Mexico and turned his life around.

Pena’s democratic candidate opponent Miguel Garcia, who currently holds the seat, filed a lawsuit trying to disqualify Pena from the ballot based on his criminal past. The judge ruled that since Pena is qualified to vote, he is qualified to hold office. Under New Mexico law, felons can get voting rights restored after completing their sentence including probation or parole.