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Second Judicial District Court

Tribunal del Segundo Distrito Judicial

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The Second Judicial District Court’s stated mission includes providing services to the diverse community of Bernalillo County in a knowledgeable and safe environment. The staff in the Court’s Scanning Division takes that mission to heart.

This division is responsible for scanning, quality checking and organizing files related to the thousands of cases that flow through the district court each year. The Scanning Division also staffs the Court’s Information Desk, which fields questions from people who contact the Court by phone or when they walk into the building.

In 2017, the Information Desk processed a total of 35,996 telephone calls and assisted 25,442 individuals in person.

Elissia Torres is primarily responsible for staffing the Information Desk and is well known for being extremely helpful in getting members of the public the information they need—whether communicating with them in phone or in person. Elissia also assists in developing articles and taking photographs for the Court’s website.

Other division employees also enthusiastically staff the Information desk when called upon, along with their other duties. Several of those staff members are Language Access Specialists. They provided language interpretation services to members of the public more than 700 times in 20017.

The Second Judicial District says kudos to the entire Scanning Division for a job well done.


For three days in February, several judges in Bernalillo County's Second Judicial District will turn their courtrooms over to teams of aspiring attorneys vying for spots in the finals of the country’s most prestigious mock trial competition.  In addition, a number of district court judges have volunteered to preside over some of the mock trials.

Law students participating in mock trials develop important skills, including creative problem solving, effective collaboration, forming persuasive arguments, public speaking, critical thinking, and thinking on one's feet.

"The regional mock trial competition provides invaluable experience for the next generation of practicing attorneys.  It is important that the entire legal community and the judiciary come together and support these types of experiences for aspiring attorneys.  These events offer a unique opportunity for law students to practice trial advocacy skills in a courtroom setting," said Chief Judge Nan Nash.

Teams from law schools in five western states—New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming—will be competing in the regional round of the National Mock Trial competition.  The American College of Trial Lawyers has sponsored this national competition every year since 1975.  The top two teams from the regional round will compete in the national finals in Austin, Texas later this year.  The winning team at the national finals earns a $10,000 donation to its law school.

The Second Judicial District Court opened its courtrooms for this competition at the request of the University of New Mexico School of Law, the official host for the regional competition.

"We are honored to host the National Mock Trial Competition for the western region this year and deeply grateful to the all of the members of the judiciary and staff of the Second Judicial District Courthouse for their kind support of this important competition," said UNM School of Law Co-Deans Alfred Mathewson and Sergio Pareja.

Members of the local legal community also have volunteered to support this event by serving as bailiffs, witnesses and other necessary parties for the various trials taking place over the three days.  Special thanks go to the student competitors and to their coaches.


The Second Judicial District Court hosted an annual Giving Tree Project for local charitable service organizations this holiday season. SJDC partnered with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and New Mexico Kids Matter, the New Mexico Veterans Integration Center, the APS Title I Homeless Project, and Animal Humane New Mexico. The Court’s aim was inspire those who work here and those who provide services to the public to give back to the community. SJDC giving trees were located in the fourth floor of the Bernalillo County Courthouse and at the Juvenile Justice Center during the month of December.

"This project seeks to bring a little extra joy to children, veterans, and our devoted companion animals during the season of giving," said James Noel, Court Executive Officer. SJDC staff demonstrated exceptional community service by helping meet the needs and wishes of others this holiday season. Some employees have made it an annual tradition to select a child, veteran, or animal in need and provide gifts requested by the charitable organizations. SJDC staff contributed several wish list items, ranging from toys, assorted toiletries, winter clothing items, shoes and pet needs. "The value of private donations made by members of the public, friends of the animal community, the District Attorney's Office, the Law Office of the Public Defender, civilian staff and officers of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center, and SJDC staff and Judges is estimated to be over $5,000" said Noel.

A small ceremony was held on Friday, December 22, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at the Bernalillo County Courthouse, Fourth Floor Atrium to present donations to the partner service organizations. The Court expressed its gratitude for the outstanding service these organizations provide to our community year-round as well as to its own court staff who generously supported the Giving Tree Project.

"The joy on their faces at the surprise gifts was priceless," commented Elinor Reiners, CEO and Program Director of the New Mexico Veterans Integration Center.

"The outpouring of community support from court staff and the public has been remarkable and humbling," said Chief Judge Nan Nash. "Thank you SJDC staff for coming together, investing in our community and making a truly meaningful impact for these charities throughout the year," said Chief Judge Nash.


The Second Judicial District Court has established designated public locations for nursing mothers to breastfeed their child in accordance with New Mexico law. The nursing rooms are available for mothers that may be at the downtown Courthouse or at the John E. Brown Juvenile Justice Center for jury service, hearings etc. The room at the downtown courthouse is located on the 5th Floor, Room 519. Childrens Court has established Room 238 for nursing mothers at the Juvenile Justice Center. Court employees also have a designated employee nursing room.

“The Second Judicial District Court welcomes the opportunity to provide a comfortable space for nursing mothers,” said Chief Judge Nan Nash. 

If you have a request to use the public nursing room at the downtown Courthouse, contact Court Administration at 841-7425 or Purchasing at 841-7458. Contact Court Administration at 841-7644 for use of the public nursing room at Children’s Court. Court staff will accompany the mother to the room to open the room for their use. Court administration has installed a lock that indicates whether the room is occupied and in use and maintains privacy.


Second Judicial District Court Human Resource staff (Eric Mitchell, Human Resources Administrator Sr. and Janet Van Why, Human Resources Administrative Assistant 2) attended a recent Career Fair at La Cueva High School on October 25, 2017.  The career fair allowed students to explore various careers and network with professionals in the community.  Several students expressed their interest in learning about internship and career opportunities at the Second Judicial District Court.  Most students had questions about what it would take to be a lawyer or Judge and were highly interested in the legal profession.  The Second Judicial District Court is a great place to learn about the judicial system.

For more information about career opportunities and internships, contact the Human Resource Division at 841-7432.  Minors must have parental permission.  Click on this link for Second Judicial District Court Volunteer/Intern application.


The Second Judicial District Court Pro Bono Committee and the Volunteer Attorney Program (A Program of New Mexico Legal Aid) sponsor four Law-La-Palooza events each year aimed at helping low-income residents with their legal needs. The Law-La-Palooza events are free of charge and have helped over a thousand individuals get answers to their legal questions. 

The fourth Law-La-Palooza event for 2017 was held on October 19, 2017 at the Westside Community Center. Participants were able to speak with an attorney for thirty minutes about a variety of legal issues including name changes, consumer debt, immigration, and family law.  Volunteers are comprised of attorneys, judges, court staff, service providers, and law students.  Community service providers also staff tables to provide additional resources to attendees.  Volunteer attorneys were prepared to assist over 100 participants with various legal issues.  All participants were able to meet with an attorney with the greatest need for legal services were in family law and consumer debt cases.

The Second Judicial District Court Pro Bono Committee, along with the UNM School of Law Clinical Law Program and the Volunteer Attorney Program, will be sponsoring a REAL ID Legal Fair on November 4, 2017 from 10 AM until 2 PM at the UNM law school.  Bilingual attorneys and staff are available; there will be free parking.


Cassie & Judge WardOne of the most recognizable faces at the Bernalillo County Juvenile Justice Center belongs to Cassie, a 6-year-old Labrador retriever.

Cassie interacts with families, especially those with children, who need her friendship. When a girl is called to testify about traumatic abuse or neglect, Cassie might sit at her feet to provide solace. Or Cassie might stay with a sobbing boy who has just been separated from his parents after being placed into protective custody.

"Cassie provides great comfort in the courtroom and gets smiles from everyone she meets when she is in the building," Children’s Court Judge Marie Ward said.  "She is a silent companion who has a way of removing the edge from very difficult situations."

Cassie has been a presence at the Juvenile Justice Center since late 2013. She is a specially-trained Courthouse CASA dog, a name that is derived from the acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Cassie was purchased using a grant by New Mexico Kids Matter, the CASA program in Albuquerque. CASA believes that every child who has been abused, neglected or is in foster care deserves to have a dedicated volunteer advocate speaking up for them in court.

"We are very fortunate to have Cassie, both as a resource and as a friend," Judge Ward said.  "She brings a lift to everyone she meets and she is especially valuable to the children who need her most."

Cassie was trained by Assistance Dogs of the West, a Santa Fe-based accredited service dog organization that also provides service dogs for the Veterans Court program. Courthouse dogs have been used around the country since 2003.

For more information about CASA please visit www.nmkidsmatter.org.



​Archived News

Law-La-Palooza Provides Legal Services to Low-Income Residents

The Second Judicial District Court Pro Bono Committee and the Volunteer Attorney Program sponsor four Law-La-Palooza events each year aimed at helping low-income residents with their legal needs.  The Law-La-Palooza events are free of charge and have helped over a thousand individuals get answers to their legal questions.

The third Law-La-Palooza event for 2017 was held on August 24, 2017 at the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center.  Participants were able to speak with an attorney for thirty minutes about a variety of legal issues including name changes, personal injury, immigration, and family law.  Volunteers are comprised of attorneys, judges, court staff, service providers, and law students.  Community service providers also staff tables to provide additional resources to attendees.  Volunteer attorneys were prepared to assist over 150 participants with various legal issues including: family law, criminal law, consumer debt, taxes, immigration, and public assistance benefits.  All participants were able to meet with an attorney with the greatest need for legal services were in family law cases.

The next Law-La-Palooza will be on October 26, 2017 at the Westside Community Center (1250 Isleta Blvd. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105).  Participants are asked to bring all relevant documents related to the issue for discussion in order to provide quality legal assistance.  Attorneys and staff who are bilingual in Spanish and American Sign Language will be available.  Services are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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Disclaimer:  All efforts are made to ensure that information and links are accurate and current. However, users should not cite this information as an official or authoritative source and are advised to independently verify all information. Visitors to this site agree that the Second Judicial District Court of the State of New Mexico is not liable for errors or omissions of any of the information provided. Information contained on this web site should in no way be construed as legal advice. Users should contact an attorney if they require legal assistance or advice.