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New Mexico Courts

Tribunales de Nuevo México

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

March 26

The state Supreme Court has paused evictions for New Mexicans who prove that they are unable to pay rent during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Court issued an order on March 26 that temporarily postpones the carrying out of eviction orders against New Mexicans who provide a judge with evidence that they are unable to pay their rent on a mobile home lot. This action offers the same protections against the loss of housing during the public health emergency that the Court provided to tenants of apartments and certain other places of residence in an order issued March 24.

The governor has directed New Mexicans to stay at home, except under limited circumstances. Temporarily preventing evictions from being carried out because of a person’s inability to pay rent will help families and individuals follow the governor’s directive to remain in their homes to help guard against the spread of COVID-19.

If a landlord begins an eviction proceeding, the renter will receive a summons that notifies them of the lawsuit and explains that they can participate in a hearing before a judge. Court hearings are conducted by video or telephone during the public health emergency, unless the parties ask to appear in person. To stop an eviction, renters - whether of land in a mobile home park or an apartment - must participate in the hearing and provide the judge with evidence of their current inability to pay their rent. If sufficient evidence is provided by the tenant, judges will stay the execution of writs of restitution that property owners can obtain and give to law enforcement to force the removal of a tenant.

 “New Mexicans are struggling financially as workplaces close because of the public health emergency,” said Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura. “The Court’s order will provide temporary relief for families and individuals facing the possibly of losing their housing at a time when the governor and public health officials have ordered New Mexicans to remain at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

If you would like assistance with your eviction proceeding please contact:

  • New Mexico Legal Aid - (505) 633-6694
  • Senior Citizens Law Office - (505) 265-2300, (Serves residents of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia and Torrance counties who are 60 or older.)
  • Legal Resources for the Elderly Program, 800-876-6657 statewide; 505-797-6005 in Albuquerque, (Statewide free legal helpline for NM residents 55 and older.)

The Supreme Court’s order is the latest restriction and precautionary measure imposed on operations of state courts to protect public safety and safeguard the health of New Mexicans. Other measures provide New Mexican additional time to pay fines and fees, require the use of audio and video teleconferencing for court proceedings that need to continue and allow self-represented litigants to submit case filings to local courts by email and fax to help them avoid courthouse visits.

For more information about COVID-19 updates and the courts, please visit the NM Courts website.

March 23

New Mexico's appellate, district, magistrate and metropolitan courts remain open. Additional restrictions and public health precautions for operations of New Mexico courts have been ordered by the state Supreme Court to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

“Courts recognize that extraordinary steps are necessary to protect public safety and the health of New Mexicans. Our courts must continue to provide essential services in the justice system,” said Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura.

Under the Supreme Court’s order:

  • While limits on “mass gatherings” established by the state public health order do not apply to courthouses because courts provide essential services, courts will limit the number of people to no more than 15 in courtrooms and other locations inside a courthouse to promote social distancing recommended by public health officials. Previously, the restriction was 25 or fewer people.
  • Judges must conduct audio and video teleconferencing for civil and criminal proceedings, except when an emergency requires in-person appearances. This lessens the need for attorneys and litigants to appear in-person at courthouses. Courts are using Google Meet to facilitate teleconferencing because users can access the free service by creating a Google email account. Since the state declared a public health emergency, judges and litigants have been encouraged to use teleconferencing when possible.

If you have questions about a specific court’s operations, please check their webpage for additional information and telephone numbers. Links for appellate, district, magistrate and metropolitan courts can be found at the Judiciary’s home page under the NM Courts tab. Updates about the state courts also can be found on Twitter @nmcourts.

Other measures in place at state courts during the COVID-19 public health emergency:

  • Provide more time for people to pay fines and fees. A Supreme Court order adds 30 days to the payment deadline imposed by a magistrate, metropolitan, district or municipal court for fines and fees that must be paid between March 19 and May 29, 2020.  The extension does not apply to amounts past due.
  • Require courts to screen visitors to courthouses and deny access to people displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or who have traveled to a COVID-19 high-risk area.
  • Suspend civil jury and criminal jury trials that have not started.
  • Allow self-represented litigants to submit case filings to local courts by email and fax.
  • Permit attorneys to email or fax pleadings in case types that previously were not eligible for electronic filings.
  • Temporarily suspend the ability of lawyers to excuse a judge from presiding over a criminal and civil case. By suspending the peremptory excusal rules, courts can better manage their caseloads within precautionary directives and distribute cases among all available judges.
  • Limit the number of inmates transported from jails to courthouses for hearings.
  • Provide for enhanced cleaning procedures in buildings that house courthouses not owned by the New Mexico Judiciary. 
  • Suspend out-of-state work-related travel by judicial employees and judges and require a 14-day self-isolation period for those who travel out-of-state for personal reasons on or after March 18.

 


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Media Contact Information

 

Administrative Office of the Courts

Barry Massey

Public Information Officer

Phone: 505-827-4805 office; 505-470-3436 cell

bmassey@nmcourts.gov

Beth Wojahn

Communications Officer

Phone: 505-827-4876 office; 505-469-5415 cell

bwojahn@nmcourts.gov

 

Second Judicial District Court

Sidney Hill

Public Information Officer

Phone: 505-841-7504

albdsxh@nmcourts.gov

 

Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

Camille Baca

Public Information Officer

Phone: 505-401-6149

metrcrb@nmcourts.gov


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