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Second Judicial District Court

Tribunal del Segundo Distrito Judicial

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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.


The Second Judicial District Court Pretrial Services Division took part in the Albuquerque Celebrate Recovery event recently held on September 28, 2017 at the Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque. This is the Second Annual Celebrate Recovery event developed to acknowledge and promote National Recovery Month. The Court’s Pretrial Services Division provided the public with information on specialty courts.


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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.


Second Judicial District Court Presiding Criminal Division Judge Charles Brown, Kelly Bradford, Pretrial Services Director, Joy Willis, Attorney Supervisor, and Gilbert Jaramillo, Program Manager, were asked to be guest speakers at the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA) 45th Annual Conference and Training Institute.  The NAPSA Conference featured nationally renowned presenters to provide exceptional information and research about the field of Pretrial Services. 

The Second Judicial District Court’s instructional workshop at the NAPSA conference was entitled: “Rebuilding a Pretrial Justice System and Agency; Lessons learned from New Mexico.” The workshop focused on how the Second Judicial District Court Pretrial Services Division recreated its operational structure to be grounded in legal and evidence based practices.  New Mexico, specifically Bernalillo County, experienced significant changes to the criminal justice system due to recent legal rulings. The State of New Mexico v. Brown New Mexico Supreme Court ruling in 2014 led the way to the passage of a preventive detention constitutional amendment and new pretrial release Supreme Court rules that have required swift and focused pretrial justice reform efforts. Bernalillo County’s Second Judicial District Court’s Pretrial Service’s program has implemented new pretrial services guidelines that follow legal and evidence practices as outlined by the American Bar Association and National Association of Pretrial Service Agencies.


The Honorable Marie Ward will be the new Presiding Judge of the Second Judicial District Court Children’s Court Division. Judge Marie Ward joined the Court in 2004, serving the Second Judicial District Court as a Children’s Court Judge since 2014. Prior to her appointment, she served as a Family Court Hearing Officer and Trial Court Staff Attorney.

"Judge Ward's expert knowledge of children's and family law, her tremendous work ethic and dedication has already had a tremendous positive impact on the lives of children and families in our community. Judge Ward's leadership will continue to strengthen the effectiveness of juvenile justice at the Second Judicial District Court," said Chief Judge Nan Nash.

As presiding judge of the Second Judicial District Court's Children's Court Division in Albuquerque, N.M., Judge Ward hears delinquency, child welfare and adoption cases. Judge Ward presides over the Juvenile Drug Court, a national mentor site, which is part of the National Learning Collaborative of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Judge Ward also served the Court as founder and director of the Court's Peter H. Johnstone Pro Bono Program, providing low income families with free settlement facilitation in Family Law matters. Judge Ward is a Member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, serves on the board of the New Mexico Children’s Justice Act Advisory Group, the Improving Outcomes for Youth Initiative Task Force work with Council of State Governments Justice Center, chairs the Quality Improvement Committee for the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative in collaboration with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is an advisory partner with the Corinne Wolfe Law Center for Child and Family Justice, and serves on other committees focused on improving outcomes of youth and families involved in Juvenile Justice and Abuse and Neglect systems. Judge Ward graduated from UNM School of Law, magna cum laude, in 1998 and worked in private practice and as a Special Assistant Attorney General before joining the Court.

"Judge Ward's entire career has focused on making a difference in the lives of youth and families in New Mexico. She will bring a high level of commitment and community engagement as Presiding Judge of the Children’s Court Division," said Court Executive Officer James Noel.


The Second Judicial District Court is pleased to announce it has received a $975,000 three year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).  These funds will enhance the services already provided by the existing Adult Drug Court program and support the newly created Native American Healing to Wellness (“HWC”) track of the Court's Drug Court.

"We are very excited to add the HWC component to our existing treatment court. We believe that it will enhance the likelihood of success for those participants who qualify for it.  The Court is strongly committed to our treatments courts as they have assisted the Court, the participants and the public addressing the difficult issues that bring so many into our criminal justice system," said Chief Judge Nan Nash.

The Second Judicial District Court (SJDC) operates several treatment courts.  The SJDC Adult Drug Court was established in 1995 and is currently presided over by Judges Cristina Jaramillo and Charles Brown.  The SJDC DWI Court was established in 2015 and is presided over by Judge Jacqueline Flores.  The SJDC Veterans Court was established in 2011 and is presided over by Judges Cristina Argyres and Stan Whitaker.  The SJDC Juvenile Drug Court was established in 1989 and is presided over by Judges Marie Ward and John Romero.  Each program operates a dedicated docket, utilizes experienced Court probation officers and has formal treatment services contracts to address treatment and case management needs.  The SJDC treatment courts provide judicial oversight to approximately one hundred eighty-one participants at any given time and use evidence- based practices, including incorporating the key components of Adult Drug Courts developed by the United States Department of Justice in collaboration with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

The primary mission of the Adult Drug Court program is to reduce substance use through a variety of different treatment options and reduce substance abuse related criminal activity by providing necessary judicial support and supervision.  The urban Native American Healing to Wellness track “(HWC”) will use evidence-based practices and focus treatment and case management services for Native American participants who are eligible to participate in Adult Drug Court.  Honorable Judge Brianna Zamora will be the presiding judge of HWC with team members from the Second Judicial District Court Pretrial Services, Public Defender’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, law enforcement and community treatment providers.

"This grant will allow a higher level of service to our participants, including best practices, traditional healing, and culturally relevant methods that will assist them in their spiritual and physical recovery while ensuring community safety and improving quality of life," said Judge Zamora. SAMSHA awards federal grants through a competitive application and review process.


The Honorable John Romero, Jr. of the Second Judicial District Court, Children’s Court Division in Albuquerque, N.M. will become president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) next July 2018. He will be the first president representing New Mexico in the organization’s 81 years.

The NCJFCJ Board of Directors recently elected Judge Romero as president-elect, after serving as a member of the organization for 13 years, with five years on the Board. He will serve in that capacity until taking the president’s title.

 

Judge Romero also serves on the NCJFCJ Governance and Family Violence and Domestic Relations Committees. He is also the lead judge for the NCJFCJ’s National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking, which has educated more than 400 judicial officers nationwide to better identify children at risk of child sex trafficking, and encourage judicial leadership to help improve outcomes for victims.

"The NCJFCJ has been fortunate to have Judge Romero as our lead faculty judge for our National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking since its inception," said Joey Orduna Hastings, NCJFCJ CEO. "Judge Romero's knowledge of the judiciary, his compassion and dedication to the children and families he serves, and his ability to educate and engage his peers will make him a great leader of this organization."

As presiding judge of the Second Judicial District Court’s Children’s Court Division in Albuquerque, N.M., Judge Romero hears delinquency, child welfare and adoption cases. Judge Romero is actively involved in his community’s family violence prevention efforts and was recognized with the 2007 Spirit Advocacy Award. He presides over the Program for the Empowerment of Girls (PEG), an intensive multi-agency juvenile probation program for girls who have some type of violence and trauma in their history.

"The Second Judicial District Court is honored to have Judge John Romero serve as the President-elect on the NCJFCJ Board of Directors," said Chief Judge Nan Nash, Second Judicial District Court. "Judge Romero's lifelong work, dedication and compassion have helped improve the lives of countless children and families in New Mexico. He will bring that same enthusiastic leadership to the NCJFCJ."

Judge Romero is co-chair emeritus of the Children’s Court Improvement Commission. He remains involved with the Tribal-State Judicial Consortium. He was the first judge in the country to be recognized as a certified child welfare law specialist by the American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited National Association of Counsel for Children. In 2014, Judge Romero received the Alice King Public Service Award. Earlier this year, Judge Romero accepted an appointment on the National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the U.S.

"The New Mexico judiciary is proud that one its most experienced and conscientious judges will now have the opportunity to lead the NCJFCJ as it continues the important work of improving the effectiveness of juvenile justice courts nationwide," said Chief Justice Judith Nakamura, New Mexico Supreme Court. "Judge Romero has worked tirelessly on behalf of all New Mexicans to improve the lives of juveniles and families with his innovative and thoughtful approaches to child welfare and juvenile justice."

Judge Romero will be sworn in as NCJFCJ president during their 81st Annual Conference in Denver, Colo., July 22-25, 2018.


Jurors will now have a new user-friendly jury system to use in the Second Judicial District Court to make the jury experience easier and more rewarding. Because of the large number of trials in the Second Judicial District Court (over 321 trials in FY 2016), an efficient and cost-effective process for managing jurors is essential. The purpose of a jury management system (JMS) is to permit a robust jury management system, including juror summoning and qualifying, jury selection, service on trials, juror pay, postponements and, when necessary, excusals.

For many years, this Court had its own personalized, “home-built” JMS, carefully tailored to the specific needs and practices of this jurisdiction. While our JMS served our needs well over its life, a new system was necessary to allow this Court to have advanced technology consistent with best practices of jury management in the digital era.

After a competitive bidding process, the Administrative Office of the Courts selected the JURY+ Web Gen & Web Solutions programs offered by Jury Systems, Inc, in order to successfully implement a comprehensive state-wide web-based jury management system. Jury Systems, Inc., an American company based in Simi Valley, California, has been in business since 1997 and has had over 400 installations throughout North America.

Some of the features of its Web Gen module are:

  • Processes juror source lists and groups
  • Sends questionnaires and summonses
  • Forms jury panels
  • Records juror service and basic case information
  • Maintains juror information, history and statistics
  • Provides automatic payroll processing
  • Computes and maintains case juror costs
  • Produces jury management reports and notes

On the jurors' side, the JURY+ Web Solution lets jurors complete and submit their questionnaires online, as well as allowing them to:

  • Provide or update their personal information
  • Qualify/disqualify themselves
  • Request a postponement or change their reporting schedule
  • Request a permanent excuse
  • Review their service status and history

There are several advantages of the new system. Paper questionnaires are no longer sent automatically to jurors, saving paper costs and postage. It reduces the cost of handling (sorting and filing) hard-copy questionnaires and other documents. The submitted digital questionnaires may also be transmitted electronically once received by the court, reducing the amount of paper use and associated costs. The new system significantly reduces the amount of data entry that would otherwise be performed by a clerk. The digital forms are also uniformly legible and it keeps documents from being lost or damaged. Juror questionnaire data is removed within ninety days after jury service in accordance with Supreme Court Order 00-8500.

After the system is implemented throughout the New Mexico judiciary, it will be possible to make further use of the Jury + system to allow additional features such as juror self check-in when reporting for service and an opt-in feature which would allow jurors to receive a text notification or e-mail as a reminder of upcoming jury service.


Albuquerque, New Mexico-The Second Judicial District Court announces that a special Case Management Order (CMO) preliminary hearing calendar will be established to help facilitate moving criminal cases forward on their merits.   The District Attorney has committed to get cases refiled and to move forward with the prosecution of 8,000 cases claimed to be backlogged due to the CMO. To ensure there is no delay to the District Attorney’s commitment to the public, beginning the week of July 16, 2017, the Court will add two additional weekly preliminary hearing tracks that the District Attorney’s office can fill with backlogged cases.  All other criminal cases will be brought on the regular preliminary hearing calendars or grand jury days already currently provided to the District Attorney’s office. 

The first CMO preliminary hearing calendar is scheduled for Friday, July 21, 2017.  The Second Judicial District Court stands ready to work with the District Attorney’s Office whenever possible, specifically to get cases refiled and moving. 

 


Cassie & Judge WardOne of the most recognizable faces at the Bernalillo County Juvenile Justice Center belongs to Cassie, a 4-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

Canine Ambassador Joins Veteran's Court

Meet Zeus, the newest member of the team at Veteran’s Court.

ZeusZeus is a 2-year-old Labradoodle who is being trained as an assistance dog.  He is taking part in a program where veterans in Albuquerque prepare animals to help wounded or disabled veterans living in other parts of the country.

The dogs are provided by a Santa Fe-based training firm, Assistance Dogs of the West, which directs the Warrior Canine Connection effort in New Mexico.

Veterans who volunteer for the program have been charged with a felony but have their cases suspended by the Court while they work with the service dogs.

Participants usually receive a conditional discharge after successfully completing the 18- to 24-month program, which helps veterans ease back into society by assigning them responsibilities and teaching them life skills.

Many of those who have worked with the dogs are combat veterans who have served in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Zeus is a Veterans Court Ambassador.  His assignment is to alleviate stress and anxiety by engaging program participants.  The program usually has seven to ten dogs at a time, depending on the number of participating veterans.

Zeus and the other dogs are trained on 90 tasks, such as opening and closing doors and retrieving a dropped object.  When fully trained, the dogs are placed with veterans elsewhere who have physical disabilities and mobility challenges.

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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.