New Mexico chief justice addresses lawmakers, defends judges | KOB 4
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New Mexico chief justice addresses lawmakers, defends judges

Kai Porter
January 17, 2019 05:14 PM

SANTA FE, N.M.- New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Judith Nakamura delivered her State of the Judiciary address at the Roundhouse Thursday.

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Chief Justice Nakamura used her address to remind lawmakers about the situation courts were in two years ago.

“In 2017, then Chief Justice Daniels advised in his State of the Judiciary address that the judicial system was on ‘life support’ and its ‘organs were shutting down.’ That statement was accurate. We did not have enough money to pay jurors or even pay our rent," Chief Justice Nakamura said.

However, that dire financial situation has turned around, according to Chief Justice Nakamura.
 
“Our courts are beginning to breathe on their own. All courts are now open during regular business hours,” she said. “We received additional funding from you, re-negotiated and reduced our magistrate court leases, and are now able to pay our rent."
 
Chief Justice Nakamura said lawmakers still need to do more to improve the state’s courts. She said judges should receive a raise. She said their current salaries make hiring new judges difficult.

She also during a jab at the media while defending judges.

"If your only source of information about the judiciary came from news reports, you might think that our judges only handle criminal cases and routinely and nonchalantly release dangerous people into the community. Of course, this is not true,” Chief Justice Nakamura said. “I promise you, there is not a single judge, not one, who intends to release a dangerous person into the community.”

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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