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Judicial Reform States New Mexico

New Mexico Supreme Court

Pro Government
Total Judgeships: 

5 (0 vacancies)

Political Makeup: 

5 Dems - 0 GOP

Location(s): 
Santa Fe
Caseload: 

600

Recent Cases

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LISTEN NOWThe Freedom Files Podcast Episode 54: David BahnsenListen Here
decided

Parent’s Right to Sue During Custody Dispute Defined

Mon, 06/23/2014

Kimbrell v. Kimbrell: Throughout proceedings of Mr. and Mrs. Kimbrell’s custody dispute, Kathrin Kinzer-Elligton was assigned as guardian ad litem to the child. As the dispute became increasing hostile, the father filed suit against both the mother and Kathrin on the grounds that they were causing injury to the child. At issue in this case is whether a parent is legally capable of suing a legally appointed guardian ad litem during a pending custody proceeding or if the guardian is granted legal immunity due to her role.

Decision

The Supreme Court of New Mexico ruled that a parent is not allowed to sue on behalf of a child against a legal guardian in matters relating to custody because the circumstances create a conflict of interest and the parent is unable to act un-biasedly in the child’s best interest.

Read the full decision here
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Factoring in the Foreseeability of Liability

Thu, 05/08/2014

James Rodriguez v. Del Sol Shopping Center: After a truck crashed through the glass front of Concentra Medical Clinic which was located in the Del Sol Shopping Center, killing 3 people and injured several others, the plaintiff filed suit against Del Sol stating it breached its duty of care by not installing speed bumps. The lower courts disagreed on ruling whether the issue of duty of care is policy based or foreseeability based.

Decision

The Supreme Court of New Mexico reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals, ruling in favor of Del Sol. However, the Court took the opportunity to define foreseeability in relation to duty of care. The Court stated that liability for harm need to be determined upon the policy that the law code follows and not strictly on foreseeability alone. In this sense, the district court erred in their decision. However, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Del Sol because, in their analysis of policy, and factoring in some foreseeability, where appropriate, they found that Del Sol is not liable for the harm caused.

Read the full decision here

Analysis

This decision by the Supreme Court of New Mexico defined when foreseeability should be factored into breach-of-duty cases. The Court stated, “We do not hold that courts may never consider foreseeability; however, when a court does so, it is to analyze no-breach-of-duty or no-legal-cause as a matter of law, not whether a duty exists.”

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Returning a Felon's Civil Rights

Thu, 05/01/2014

United States of America v. Reese: Reese was charged with multiple felony charges but during his sentencing, some of the convictions were dismissed and he then proceeded to serve his time necessary for the remaining offenses. The federal definition of a felon is any person convicted in any court of a felony however “any conviction which has been expunged, or set aside or for which a person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored shall not be considered a conviction.” As a result, Reese brought to court the issue of whether he is allowed to hold public office if he completed a deferred sentence for a felony but was not pardoned from it.

Decision

The Supreme Court of New Mexico ruled that the New Mexico Constitution restores a person’s civil rights once completion of the condition of their deferment are fulfilled and their criminal charges are dismissed. As a result, even though Reese was charged with a felony, his rights are restored and he is allowed to practice the civil right of running for public office if he so wishes.

Read the full decision here