New Mexico Courts
COURTS EXPAND IN-PERSON PROCEEDINGS
State courts are expanding the proceedings that will be conducted in-person as the Judiciary continues to operate with public health precautions to protect the well-being of the public.
Except for jury trials, courts have conducted most proceedings since last year using audio-visual conferencing to eliminate the need for attorneys and litigants to enter a courthouse.
Under a new Supreme Court order and the Judiciary’s Public Health Emergency Protocols, certain types of civil and criminal court proceedings will be conducted with the parties physically in the courtroom beginning no later than July 19. Exceptions are permitted by presiding judges in consultation with the chief judge of the judicial district. Civil and criminal jury trials will continue to be held in-person.
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.
All other criminal and civil proceedings will be remotely conducted, unless a presiding judge orders otherwise in consultation with the district’s chief judge.
State courts will 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.
EVICTIONS PAUSED FOR INABILITY TO PAY RENT
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. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about eviction stay.
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.
If you would like assistance with your eviction proceeding please contact:
- New Mexico Legal Aid – 1-833-LGL-HELP (1-833-545-4357)
- 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 Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court offers a free mediation program for people involved in active landlord-tenant cases in that court. The program starts May 11. A trained facilitator will work with landlords and tenants to try to develop a business agreement beneficial to both sides. Click here for more details. People wishing to participate in the Landlord-Tenant Settlement Program should contact the Metro Court’s Mediation Division at (505) 841-8167.
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Media Contact Information
Administrative Office of the Courts
Public Information Officer
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.)