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This essay describes and explains the structure, jurisdiction and methods of judicial selection in the New Mexico Court System.
Structure of the court system and jurisdiction
The New Mexico court system comprises of the new Supreme Court, court of appeals, district courts, magistrate courts, metropolitan and municipal courts. The Supreme Court is located in Santa Fe and it is the highest court in the state consisting of five justices. The cases are appealed to this court but not all the appeals are accepted by it. For example, the person sentenced to life or death is given a chance to appeal to the Supreme Court and it is upon the five justices to conduct the case or not. The actions of the Supreme Court when it reviews the cases include affirming that the decision was correct and reverse the incorrect decision or send the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.
The United States Supreme Court reviews the activities of the New Mexico Supreme Court. There is also New Mexico court of appeals with offices in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe which is presided over by ten judges. The responsibility of the court of appeals is to hear the appeals of various civil cases such as the criminal cases that do not lead to juvenile cases and death penalty. This court of appeal may hear other cases of own choice. The New Mexico Supreme Court receives all the appeals from the New Mexico court of appeals.
The district courts in the New Mexico court system are presided over by seventy two judges. These courts are any case that is at its initial trial including the criminal and civil cases. However, they do not have a mandate of hearing the cases that the law reserves for federal, tribunal and appeals courts. The various cases that are appealed from these district courts are taken to the court of appeals and the Supreme Court. The New Mexico has fifty-four magistrate courts that are presided over by sixty two judges. The jurisdiction of these magistrate judges is limited implying that they hear only certain cases. For instance, they are allowed to hear civil cases that involve the controversial amount that is under ten thousand dollars. They also deal with minor crimes such as traffic violations and they have a role of issuing search warrants. All the appeals from the magistrate courts are always treated as new cases because the magistrate courts are not courts of record.
The metropolitan court is presided over by sixteen judges. These court has a responsibility of carrying out jury trials and hearing the civil cases with the amount in controversy under ten thousand dollars. The metropolitan court hears the cases that involve minor crimes and they also conduct some preliminary hearings of cases that are considered serious. The court issues writs for the collection of judgments and warrants of search. The court also hears the violations of the city laws and they are the court of record for various domestic violence. All the cases that are appealed from the metropolitan court are taken to the district courts whereby the criminal courts apart from domestic violence and DWI cases are treated as new trials. These new trials are referred to as de novo.
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The New Mexico has only one metropolitan court which is found in Bernalillo County. The count must have a population of over 200,000 in order to have a metropolitan court. Finally, the New Mexico has eight three municipal courts with 85 municipal judges. The municipal courts are not allowed to carry out jury trials and they are limited in the cases which they hear. They can hear minor cases such as traffic violations and other minor law violations. These courts deal with cases that involve a period of less than six months or a fine of less than five hundred dollars. They deal with violations that occur only in the limits of the city. Since the Municipal Courts are not courts of record, any appealed case is dealt with as a new trial in the District Courts.
Method of judicial selection
Centrally to other United States public officials, the state judges are put into the judicial positions through partisan and non partisan elections and direct appointments from by the governor. The justices who work in the New Mexico Supreme Court justices must be attorneys who are elected as officials. When there are vacancies between the elections, the governor appoints the attorneys to fill the vacancies. When the vacancy arises in the court of appeals, an attorney is appointed by the governor to occupy the vacancy. This appointed person holds the office until the time of the next election whereby he/she runs for the elections to be elected as a judge.
Any person to become a magistrate judge must live within the county where she/he wants to work for and it is not a must for him/her to hold a degree in law. However, the governor appoints any qualified person to fill the vacancy that may arise in between the elections. The attorneys who are the elected officials become the metro court justices and the governor appoints the attorneys when the vacancies arise between the elections. Finally, the municipal judges are the elected official who are not required to be attorneys but must be residents of their municipality. In case of a vacancy in between the elections, the mayor appoints a qualified person to fill the vacancy.
Peculiar features of the New Mexico court system
The Mexico's civil law system is derived from the Roman law and it is influenced by the colonial law which is a formal body of the law that includes the customs and accepted practices that require the use of intricate regulations that are associated with important acts of people's lives.
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In conclusion, Mexico enjoys a highly organized and evolved New Mexico court system in the United States.
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