New Mexico Courts
IN-PERSON COURT PROCEEDINGS
State courts are conducting civil and criminal jury trials and certain other proceedings in-person as the Judiciary continues to operate with public health precautions to protect the well-being of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here to read the latest information about court operations, including the Judiciary’s Public Health Emergency Protocols.
District, magistrate and metropolitan courts
Among the criminal proceedings to be held in-person:
- Bench trials, which are held by a judge without a jury.
- Plea and sentencing hearings.
- Hearings to determine whether a defendant is competent to stand trial.
- Preliminary hearings, which determine whether there is probable cause for a criminal prosecution to move forward.
- Pretrial detention hearings, which determine whether a felony defendant will be held in jail pending trial.
- Probation revocation hearings for defendants who are not in custody but when jail time is requested.
Civil bench trials may be held in-person at the discretion of the chief judge of the judicial district. Among the civil or domestic proceedings that will be presumptively conducted in-person:
- Order of protection hearings, such as those for domestic violence victims.
- Termination of parental rights hearings.
- Hearings in protected (PQ) and sequestered cases, including adult conservatorships.
- Kinship guardianship hearings.
Exceptions to in-person proceedings are permitted by presiding judges in consultation with the chief judge of the judicial district. All other criminal and civil proceedings will be remotely conducted with audio-visual conferencing, unless a presiding judge orders otherwise in consultation with the district’s chief judge.
State courts continue to operate with public health precautions. Health screening questions and masks are required for anyone to enter a courthouse, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Physical distancing of people also is enforced in court buildings.
Oral arguments before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals will be held in-person when all of the parties are fully vaccinated.
Hearings in municipal courts may be held in-person if the Supreme Court has approved a plan by the local court for conducting the proceeding with appropriate public health protections.
CUSTOMER SERVICE CALL CENTER
The Administrative Office of the Courts operates a centralized call center that can provide basic information in English and Spanish about court services, cases and how to comply with citations, summonses and warrants. The service is available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 855-court-4 or 855-268-7804.
EVICTION PREVENTION AND DIVERSION PROGRAM
State courts are implementing a program to help New Mexicans facing the possible loss of housing during the pandemic and provide landlords with an alternative to evicting tenants unable to pay their rent.
The state Supreme Court issued an order on Jan. 4, 2022 to pilot the Eviction Prevention and Diversion Program in the Ninth Judicial District of Curry and Roosevelt counties starting Feb. 1, and expanding the program statewide in March.
Under the program:
- When tenants receive a legal notice that an eviction petition has been filed in court, they also will get information to help them access legal services, financial assistance for rent and utilities as well as rehousing for people who may lose their home or already have lost it.
- At the start of a hearing or trial in an eviction case, judges will advise the tenant and landlord about the Eviction Prevention and Diversion Program and the availability of federally funded emergency rental assistance administered by the state.
- If the parties agree to participate in the program, the case will be put on hold for a minimum of 60 days while negotiations are underway with a court-appointed settlement facilitator. If needed, a court can grant up to 30 additional days for negotiations. The court will dismiss the case if a settlement is reached. The case will proceed if there is no settlement and a judge can issue an eviction order, known as a writ of restitution. If evicted, tenants may access rehousing assistance through the Eviction Prevention and Diversion Program.
Early in the pandemic in March 2020, the Supreme Court paused evictions for tenants who provided a judge with sufficient evidence of their inability to pay rent during the pandemic.
Under the Court’s latest court, the stay on evictions for non-payment of rent will be lifted in Curry and Roosevelt counties when the Eviction Prevention and Diversion Program begins there. Once the program takes effect statewide, the eviction moratorium will be lifted in all other counties.
If landlords obtained a judgment during the time that evictions were put on hold, they must return to court and file a new form requesting a post-judgment eviction order to have the case move forward.
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Media Contact Information
Administrative Office of the Courts
Public Information Officer
Phone: 505-469-5415 cell
Second Judicial District Court
Public Information Officer
Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court
Public Information Officer
Media and Public Resources
Rules Governing Cameras in the Courtroom
- Rule 23-107. Broadcasting, televising, photographing and recording of court proceedings; guidelines.
- Rule 6-102. Conduct of magistrate court proceedings. (Photographing and recording of proceedings allowed.)