HOUSE BILL 146
55th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2021
Micaela Lara Cadena
RELATING TO COURTS; TRANSFERRING CERTAIN DUTIES OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS TO INDIVIDUAL JUDICIAL DISTRICTS; CREATING SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY FOR DISTRICT COURTS OVER MAGISTRATE COURTS IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 35-1-37 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1968, Chapter 62, Section 39, as amended) is amended to read:
"35-1-37. MAGISTRATE COURT--PRESIDING MAGISTRATE.--In magistrate districts where two or more divisions operate as a single court, the [director of the administrative office of the courts] chief district judge shall designate the magistrate of one of the divisions as "presiding magistrate" to perform administrative duties prescribed by [regulation of] the [administrative office] supreme court."
SECTION 2. Section 35-2-3 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1968, Chapter 62, Section 43) is amended to read:
"35-2-3. QUALIFICATION--CERTIFICATE OF MAGISTRATE QUALIFICATION.--
A. Within fifteen days after each general election, the administrative office of the courts shall notify each apparently successful candidate for the office of magistrate of the requirements for qualification. Within thirty days after election or appointment, each apparently successful candidate and each appointee shall file with the administrative office of the courts an application for certificate of magistrate qualification. The application shall be in a form prescribed by the administrative office of the courts and shall include:
(1) the oath of office prescribed by the constitution for public officers subscribed to by the applicant;
(2) the applicant's certificate of election or appointment; and
(3) evidence of the applicant's possession of personal qualifications required by law.
B. Each applicant for a certificate of magistrate qualification who has not previously held such a certificate shall attend a qualification training program conducted by the administrative office of the courts as a prerequisite to the issuance of [his] the applicant's first certificate. The administrative office of the courts shall prescribe the content of the qualification training program so as to inform applicants with reference to judicial powers and duties.
C. Upon approval of the application and, when required, upon the applicant's attendance at a qualification training program, the administrative office of the courts shall certify the applicant's initial qualification in accordance with the requirements of law by issuing to the applicant a "certificate of magistrate qualification". Each magistrate shall post the certificate in a conspicuous place in [his] the magistrate's courtroom.
D. If not sooner suspended or revoked as provided by law, each certificate of magistrate qualification automatically expires at the end of the term to which the magistrate is elected or appointed or when [his] the magistrate's successor in office is qualified, whichever is later.
E. Any magistrate who fails to complete the requirements for initial qualification within forty-five days of election or appointment shall be held to have resigned [his] the magistrate's office. [and the administrative office] The chief district judge shall certify the existence of [the] any magistrate vacancy to the governor and notify the administrative office of the courts."
SECTION 3. Section 35-6-7 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2003, Chapter 240, Section 3) is amended to read:
"35-6-7. MAGISTRATE COURT--DRUG COURT FEE--MONTHLY REMITTANCES.--[A.] A magistrate court that has an adult drug court program may assess and collect from participants a "drug court fee" of fifty dollars ($50.00) a month. Program fee requirements may be satisfied by community service at the federal minimum wage. Proceeds from the drug court fee shall be deposited in the [magistrate] drug court fund
[B. Each magistrate court shall pay monthly to the administrative office of the courts, not later than the date established by rule of the director of the administrative office, the amount collected pursuant to Subsection A of this section, which shall be credited to the magistrate drug court fund. The administrative office shall return to each magistrate a written receipt itemizing all money received and credited to the fund] of the judicial district established pursuant to Section 34-6-47 NMSA 1978."
SECTION 4. Section 35-7-1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1997, Chapter 53, Section 1) is amended to read:
"35-7-1. MAGISTRATE COURTS--SUPERVISION BY THE SUPREME COURT AND THE DISTRICT COURT IN THE JUDICIAL DISTRICT IN WHICH THE COURT IS LOCATED.--The magistrate courts shall operate under the direction and control of the supreme court and the district court of the judicial district in which the court is located. The [director of the administrative office of the courts] district court shall provide administrative support to the magistrate courts, under the supervision of the supreme court."
SECTION 5. Section 35-7-3 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1968, Chapter 62, Section 98, as amended) is amended to read:
"35-7-3. MAGISTRATE ADMINISTRATION--STANDARDIZED MONTHLY REPORTS.--Each magistrate court, under the supervision of the district court, shall file a standardized monthly report with the administrative office of the courts not later than the date each month established by [regulation of] the director of the administrative office of the courts. The report shall itemize all fines, forfeitures and costs imposed, received and disbursed by the magistrate during the previous month or indicate that none were imposed, received or disbursed. One copy of the report shall be retained by the magistrate court. The administrative office of the courts shall audit and adjust each report in accordance with the facts and file the reports in its office for a period of five years."
SECTION 6. Section 35-7-5 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1968, Chapter 62, Section 100, as amended) is amended to read:
"35-7-5. MAGISTRATE ADMINISTRATION--PUBLIC MONEY--COMMINGLING--TRUST FUND BANK ACCOUNT.--
A. All money collected by a magistrate court in connection with civil and criminal actions is public money of the state held in trust by the [magistrate] district court within the same judicial district until [received by the administrative office of the courts or] disbursed in accordance with law. Public money shall not be commingled with personal funds of the magistrate or any other funds.
B. Every [magistrate] district court shall [open] maintain a special trust fund checking account for the magistrate courts in its judicial district in a convenient bank insured by the federal deposit insurance corporation and shall deposit all public money into the account within [four] two banking days after its receipt [and shall make all remittances to the administrative office, as required by law, by check on this account.
C. Any magistrate who violates any provision of this section or who is the maker of a check representing an amount required by law to be remitted to the administrative office, which check is not honored by the bank upon which it is drawn when first presented for payment for reason of lack of funds, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. Any conviction under this section operates as an automatic removal from office and forfeiture of the right to hold any public office for a period of four years from the date of conviction]."
SECTION 7. Section 35-7-10 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1968, Chapter 62, Section 105, as amended) is amended to read:
"35-7-10. MAGISTRATE ADMINISTRATION--CLERICAL ASSISTANTS.--Within appropriations and budgetary limitations, [each magistrate, or the presiding magistrate of a multi-magistrate court, may select and the administrative office of the courts] the district court may employ and select clerical assistants for magistrates."
SECTION 8. Section 35-7-11 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1968, Chapter 62, Section 106, as amended) is amended to read:
"35-7-11. MAGISTRATE ADMINISTRATION--FINANCES.--Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, all salaries and expenses of the magistrate court shall be paid by the state treasurer upon warrants of the secretary of finance and administration, supported by vouchers approved by the [director of the administrative office of the courts] chief district judge and in accordance with budgets approved by the state budget division of the department of finance and administration."
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