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New Mexico Courts

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About the Courts

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court consists of five Justices and is located in Santa Fe. This is the court of last resort and has superintending control over all inferior courts and attorneys licensed in the state.

This court has mandatory appellate jurisdiction over: criminal matters in which the sentence imposed is life in prison or the death penalty, appeals from the Public Regulation Commission, appeals from the granting of writs of habeas corpus, appeals in actions challenging nominations, and removal of public officials.

Discretionary jurisdiction: denials of petitions for writ of habeas corpus, petitions for writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals, other extraordinary writ matters, and certified questions either from the Court of Appeals or federal courts.

Court of Appeals

Ten judges preside, sitting in panels of three. The court has offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

This court has mandatory jurisdiction in: civil, non-capital criminal, juvenile cases; Discretionary jurisdiction in interlocutory decision cases and administrative agency appeals.

District Court

One-hundred-two judges preside. There are thirteen different districts. These are courts of general jurisdiction which hold jury trials.

This court will hear these types of cases: Tort, contract, real property rights, and estate. Exclusive domestic relations, mental health, appeals for administrative agencies and lower courts, miscellaneous civil jurisdiction; Misdemeanor. Exclusive criminal appeals jurisdiction; Exclusive juvenile jurisdiction.

Magistrate Court

Sixty-seven judges preside. There are 54 magistrate courts. These are courts of limited jurisdiction. Jury trials.

This court will hear these types of cases: Tort, contract, landlord/tenant rights ($0-10,000); Felony preliminary hearings; Misdemeanor, DWI/DUI and other traffic violations.

Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

Nineteen judges preside. This is a court of limited jurisdiction. Jury trials.

This court will hear these types of cases: Tort, contract, landlord/tenant rights ($0-10,000); Felony first appearances; Misdemeanor, DWI/DUI, Domestic Violence and other traffic violations.

Municipal Court

Eighty-three judges preside. There are eighty-one municipal courts. These are courts of limited jurisdiction. No jury trials.

This court will hear these types of cases: Petty misdemeanors, DWI/DUI, traffic violations and other municipal ordinance violations.

Probate Court

Thirty-three judges. There are thirty-three counties. These are courts of limited jurisdiction. No jury trials.

This court will hear these types of cases: Informal probate; Estate (Hears uncontested cases. Contested cases go to district court).

Judicial Staggered Terms and Retention Schedule

The “Nonpartisan Judicial Retention Act” (§1-26-1 et al. NMSA 1978) implements staggered retention schedules for the New Mexico Supreme Court Justices and all statewide judges of the New Mexico Court of Appeals, District Courts, and Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.

The retention election schedules can be found here:

Last updated: July 28, 2023

New Mexico Judicial Branch Website Disclaimer

This website was created by the New Mexico Judicial Branch solely as a public service. The Judicial Branch does not warrant the accuracy of the information displayed by this website nor is it responsible for any errors or omissions and assumes no liability for its use, availability or compatibility with website users’ software or computers. This information is by necessity general in nature and is not intended as legal advice, but rather information which may be useful in understanding how courts in New Mexico operate. For legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.