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“Citizens in a democracy have a fundamental right to have access to public records.
This right is recognized by the New Mexico Legislature through the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 14-2-1 et seq. (“IPRA”), and by the New Mexico Supreme Court, which stated in 1977 that a citizen’s right to know is the rule and secrecy is the exception…”
Notice of Right to Inspect Public Records
By law, under the Inspection of Public Records Act, every person has the right to inspect public records of the Second Judicial District Court. Compliance with requests to inspect public records is an integral part of the routine duties of the officers and employees of the Second Judicial District Court.
Procedures for Requesting Inspection. Requests to inspect public records should be submitted to the records custodian, located at:
A person desiring to inspect public records may submit a request to the records custodian orally or in writing. However, the procedures and penalties prescribed by the Act apply only to written requests. A written request must contain the name, address, and telephone number of the person making the request. Written requests may be submitted in person or sent via US mail, email, or facsimile. The request must describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable the records custodian to identify and locate the requested records.
The records custodian must permit inspection immediately or as soon as practicable, but no later than 15 calendar days after the records custodian receives the inspection request. If inspection is not permitted within three business days, the person making the request will receive a written response explaining when the records will be available for inspection or when the public body will respond to the request. If any of the records sought are not available for public inspection, the person making the request is entitled to a written response from the records custodian explaining the reasons inspection has been denied. The written denial shall be delivered or mailed within 15 calendar days after the records custodian receives the request for inspection.
Procedures for Requesting Copies and Fees. If a person requesting inspection would like a copy of a public record, a reasonable fee may be charged. The fee for printed documents 11 inches by 17 inches or smaller is 35 cents per page. The fee for downloading copies of public records to a computer disk is $4.00. The records custodian may request that applicable fees for copying public records be paid in advance, before the copies are made. A receipt indicating that the fees have been paid will be provided upon request to the person requesting the copies.
14-2-1. Right to inspect public records; exceptions.
Every person has a right to inspect public records of this state except:
- records pertaining to physical or mental examinations and medical treatment of persons confined to an institution;
- letters of reference concerning employment, licensing or permits;
- letters or memoranda that are matters of opinion in personnel files or students’ cumulative files;
- portions of law enforcement records that reveal:
- confidential sources, methods or information; or
- before charges are filed, names, address, contact information, or protected personal identifier information as defined in this Act of individuals who are:
- accused but not charged with a crime; or
- victims of or non-law-enforcement witnesses to an alleged crime of: 1) assault with intent to commit a violent felony pursuant to Section 30-3-3 NMSA 1978 when the violent felony is criminal sexual penetration; 2) assault against a household member with intent to commit a violent felony pursuant to Section 30-3-14 NMSA 1978 when the violent felony is criminal sexual penetration; 3) stalking pursuant to Section 30-3A-3 NMSA 1978; 4) aggravated stalking pursuant to Section 30-3A-3.1 NMSA 1978; 5) criminal sexual penetration pursuant to Section 30-9-11 NMSA 1978; or 6) criminal sexual contact pursuant to Section 30-9-12 NMSA 1978.
Law enforcement records include evidence in any form received or compiled in connection with a criminal investigation or prosecution by a law enforcement or prosecuting agency, including inactive matters or closed investigations to the extent that they contain the information listed in this subsection; provided that the presence of such information on a law enforcement record does not exempt the record from inspection;
- as provided by the Confidential Materials Act [14-3A-1, 14-3A-2 NMSA 1978];
- trade secrets, attorney-client privileged information and long-range or strategic business plans of public hospitals discussed in a properly closed meeting;
- tactical response plans or procedures prepared for or by the state or a political subdivision of the state, the publication of which could reveal specific vulnerabilities, risk assessments or tactical emergency security procedures that could be used to facilitate the planning or execution of a terrorist attack; and
- as otherwise provided by law.
14-2-8. Procedure for requesting records.
- Any person wishing to inspect public records may submit an oral or written request to the custodian. However, the procedures set forth in this section shall be in response to a written request. The failure to respond to an oral request shall not subject the custodian to any penalty.
- Nothing in the Inspection of Public Records Act shall be construed to require a public body to create a public record.
- A written request shall provide the name, address and telephone number of the person seeking access to the records and shall identify the records sought with reasonable particularity. No person requesting records shall be required to state the reason for inspecting the records.
- A custodian receiving a written request shall permit the inspection immediately or as soon as is practicable under the circumstances, but not later than fifteen days after receiving a written request. If the inspection is not permitted within three business days, the custodian shall explain in writing when the records will be available for inspection or when the public body will respond to the request. The three-day period shall not begin until the written request is delivered to the office of the custodian.
- In the event that a written request is not made to the custodian having possession of or responsibility for the public records requested, the person receiving the request shall promptly forward the request to the custodian of the requested public records, if known, and notify the requester. The notification to the requester shall state the reason for the absence of the records from that person’s custody or control, the records’ location and the name and address of the custodian.
- For the purposes of this section, “written request” includes an electronic communication, including email or facsimile; provided that the request complies with the requirements of Subsection C of this section.
14-2-9. Procedure for inspection.
- Requested public records containing information that is exempt and nonexempt from disclosure shall be separated by the custodian prior to inspection, and the nonexempt information shall be made available for inspection. If necessary to preserve the integrity of computer data or the confidentiality of exempt information contained in a database, a partial printout of data containing public records or information may be furnished in lieu of an entire database. Exempt information in an electronic document shall be removed along with the corresponding metadata prior to disclosure by utilizing methods or redaction tools that prevent the recovery of exempt information from a redacted electronic document.
- A custodian shall provide a copy of a public record in electronic format if the public record is available in electronic format and an electronic copy is specifically requested. However, a custodian is only required to provide the electronic record in the file format in which it exists at the time of the request.
- A custodian:
- may charge reasonable fees for copying the public records, unless a different fee is otherwise prescribed by law;
- shall not charge fees in excess of one dollar ($1.00) per printed page for documents eleven inches by seventeen inches in size or smaller;
- may charge the actual costs associated with downloading copies of public records to a computer disk or storage device, including the actual cost of the computer disk or storage device;
- may charge the actual costs associated with transmitting copies of public records by mail, electronic mail or facsimile;
- may require advance payment of the fees before making copies of public records;
- shall not charge a fee for the cost of determining whether any public record is subject to disclosure; and
- shall provide a receipt, upon request.
- Nothing in this section regarding the provision of public data in electronic format shall limit the ability of the custodian to engage in the sale of data as authorized by Sections 14-3-15.1 and 14-3-18 NMSA 1978, including imposing reasonable restrictions on the use of the database and the payment of a royalty or other consideration.
Downloadable Compliance Guides
Inspection of Public Records Act Compliance Guide
This guide is aimed to inform the public, state and local government agencies, and all other public bodies subject to the Act about the Act’s requirements and application.
Link to Office of the Attorney General - OMA/IPRA (NM Sunshine Laws)
Financial Disclosure Information
Submitting an OMA and/or IPRA Complaint
Inspection of Public Records Complaints
Written complaints concerning potential Inspection of Public Records Act violations submitted to our office should include:
- Specifics regarding the allegation
- Description of the public body of which records are being sought
- Copy of the written request for inspection of public records
- Other supporting documentation
Requests or complaints should be sent to Second Judicial District Court Administration.
Custodian of Records
Second Judicial District Court
PO Box 488
Albuquerque, NM 87103