Tuesday, November 20, 2012
In an opinion that noted "the ethical dilemmas judges in small communities face," the New Mexico Supreme Court has imposed a formal reprimand with conditions on a municipal court judge who had engaged in ex parte contacts with parties in a matter before him:
Respondent, based on his personal knowledge of the situation and the parties, initiated at least two ex parte communications and issued a temporary restraining order without authority or jurisdiction. Respondent has characterized his actions as an effort "to keep the peace" between two families in a small community. While Respondent may have had good intentions, his actions were knowing and intentional... We therefore take this opportunity to discuss the importance of abiding by the Code of Judicial Conduct no matter the size of the community in which a judge resides.
The conditions include probation for twelve months and a formal mentorship. (Mike Frisch)