SENATE BILL 302
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
RELATING TO THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION; LIMITING JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION OVERSIGHT TO MATTERS INVOLVING THE CONDUCT OR CHARACTER OF JUSTICES, JUDGES OR MAGISTRATES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 34-10-2.1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1977, Chapter 289, Section 1, as amended) is amended to read:
"34-10-2.1. JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION--DUTIES--SUBPOENA POWER.--
A. Pursuant to the judicial standards commission's authority granted by Article 6, Section 32 of the constitution of New Mexico, any justice, judge or magistrate of any court may be disciplined or removed for willful misconduct in office, persistent failure or inability to perform the judge's duties or habitual intemperance, or may be retired for a disability that seriously interferes with the performance of the justice's, judge's or magistrate's duties and that is, or is likely to become, of a permanent character. [The judicial standards commission is granted the same authority to regulate the conduct and character of court-appointed commissioners, hearing officers, administrative law judges or special masters while acting in a judicial capacity.]
B. [With respect to the officials listed in Subsection A of this section] The judicial standards commission shall:
(1) investigate all charges, complaints and allegations as to a justice's, judge's or magistrate's willful misconduct in office, persistent failure or inability to perform official duties or habitual intemperance, if the commission deems necessary, and hold a hearing on the charges, complaints or allegations concerning the discipline or removal of [the official] that judicial officer;
(2) investigate and, if the commission deems necessary, hold hearings on any charge, complaint or allegation that [an official listed in Subsection A of this section] a justice, judge or magistrate has suffered a disability that is seriously interfering with the performance of [the official's] that judicial officer's duties and that is, or is likely to become, of a permanent character;
(3) if the commission deems it necessary or convenient, appoint three masters, who are justices or judges of courts of record, to hear and take evidence in any matter arising under Paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection who shall report their findings to the commission; and
(4) after a hearing deemed necessary pursuant to Paragraph (2) of this subsection or after considering the record and the findings and report of the masters, if the commission finds good cause, recommend to the supreme court the discipline, removal or retirement of the [official] justice, judge or magistrate.
C. In any investigation or hearing held under the provisions of this section, the commission may administer oaths and, with the concurrence of a majority of the members of the commission, petition a district court to subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance and examine them under oath or affirmation and require the production of any books, records, documents or other evidence it may deem relevant or material to an investigation upon a showing of probable cause."
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