Thursday, February 17, 2005


Governor Richardson, I respectfully ask you to refrain from calling for the resignation of the Socorro judge. He owned up to aggravated DWI and received the usual and customary punishment for a citizen. In addition, he has asked for a leave of absence and has voluntarily entered a treatment facility for a month. John Wertheim, Democratic Party Chairman, also should withhold his demand for a resignation. Unless he is taking the position that every District Judge who is convicted of DWI should leave office. That is arbitrary and unreasonable.

Your request for resignation of the Judge rubs the wrong way, for several reasons. First thing that comes to mind is the Chief of the New Mexico State Police backing the officer who drove you 110 miles an hour down the same corridor (according to a report in the Albuquerque Journal, September, 2003.) Should the Chief step down? Should the officer who drove you step down? Which case of driving endangered more people?

Second, the Judicial Standards Commission is supposed to be an independent body, set up to regulate the judges. You have reportedly removed six of the eleven-member body and appointed your own members (all you had the power over). The terms of the commissioners appointed by the Governor are no longer staggered, for a period of years, to insure appointees from more than one Governor. The terms of the commissioners that the Governor appoints are now at your pleasure. That was declared legal by a 3-2 decision of the Supreme Court, but it is not in accordance with the spirit of the law.

Now, while your appointees take under consideration an issue of a Judge’s career, you publicly call for the Judge to resign (lose his job). You say, resign; but what do the six commissioners (jurors, in effect) who serve at your pleasure on the Judicial Standards Commission think of your demand? Are they intimidated? You removed six jurors of the eleven, appointed six of your choosing who serve at your pleasure (not only in this case), and now you publicly express an opinion about the Judge’s fitness to serve, while the jury is out.

The Socorro judge is an elected official. What happened to the rule that the judicial power shall be vested in the Senate (when sitting as a court of impeachment); and judges of the district court shall be liable to impeachment for crimes, misdemeanors and malfeasance in office [Article IV, Sec. 36, Constitution of New Mexico]?

If you do not want this Judge sitting if he is going to be drinking; then fit him with an ankle bracelet which will detect and report any alcohol in his blood stream. Let him wear that bracelet until he voluntarily retires, or the voters retire him.

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