As election nears, judicial evaluatory group recommends voters do not retain 4 Bernalillo Cty judges | KOB 4
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As election nears, judicial evaluatory group recommends voters do not retain 4 Bernalillo Cty judges

Kai Porter
September 14, 2018 05:37 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The report card is out for New Mexico judges up for retention in the November election.

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The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, created by the New Mexico Supreme Court, announced in a Friday morning news conference that voters not retain four out of 18 judges currently serving in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.  

"Having four in one election cycle is not common," JPEC Chair Denise Torres said.

Those four judges are Metropolitan Court Chief Judge Edward Benavidez, Judge Michelle Castillo Dowler, Judge Kenny Montoya and Judge Linda Rogers. The judges are evaluated on legal ability, fairness, communication skills, and preparation, attentiveness, temperament and control over proceedings.

"This is really the only place that voters can go to to get information regarding our judiciary,” Torres said. “Most of the people don't see these judges. They never see them. They have no information except the ones that make the news."

The last two times Benavidez was up for retention, in 2010 and 2014, the commission recommended voters retain him. This time around, things have changed.

"Any time that we vote not to retain is concerning,” said Torres. “We take our job very seriously and obviously this affects his livelihood. So we do the best we can with the information we have, and we report it as accurately as we can to the voters, and ultimately the voters will decide."

Robert Padilla, an executive officer with Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, had no comment when KOB reached out for a statement from either the court or the judges. The commission says, on average, judges with a "Do not retain" recommendation receive 12 percentage points fewer "Do retain" votes.

Judges have to receive 57 percent of the vote to stay on the bench.

You can read the full performance evaluation for any judge here. 

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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