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Second Judicial District Court

Tribunal del Segundo Distrito Judicial

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The Second Judicial District Court hosted an annual Giving Tree Project for local charitable service organizations this holiday season. SJDC partnered with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and New Mexico Kids Matter, the New Mexico Veterans Integration Center, the APS Title I Homeless Project, and Animal Humane New Mexico. The Court’s aim was inspire those who work here and those who provide services to the public to give back to the community. SJDC giving trees were located in the fourth floor of the Bernalillo County Courthouse and at the Juvenile Justice Center during the month of December.

"This project seeks to bring a little extra joy to children, veterans, and our devoted companion animals during the season of giving," said James Noel, Court Executive Officer. SJDC staff demonstrated exceptional community service by helping meet the needs and wishes of others this holiday season. Some employees have made it an annual tradition to select a child, veteran, or animal in need and provide gifts requested by the charitable organizations. SJDC staff contributed several wish list items, ranging from toys, assorted toiletries, winter clothing items, shoes and pet needs. "The value of private donations made by members of the public, friends of the animal community, the District Attorney's Office, the Law Office of the Public Defender, civilian staff and officers of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center, and SJDC staff and Judges is estimated to be over $5,000" said Noel.

A small ceremony was held on Friday, December 22, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at the Bernalillo County Courthouse, Fourth Floor Atrium to present donations to the partner service organizations. The Court expressed its gratitude for the outstanding service these organizations provide to our community year-round as well as to its own court staff who generously supported the Giving Tree Project.

"The joy on their faces at the surprise gifts was priceless," commented Elinor Reiners, CEO and Program Director of the New Mexico Veterans Integration Center.

"The outpouring of community support from court staff and the public has been remarkable and humbling," said Chief Judge Nan Nash. "Thank you SJDC staff for coming together, investing in our community and making a truly meaningful impact for these charities throughout the year," said Chief Judge Nash.

The Second Judicial District Court has established designated public locations for nursing mothers to breastfeed their child in accordance with New Mexico law. The nursing rooms are available for mothers that may be at the downtown Courthouse or at the John E. Brown Juvenile Justice Center for jury service, hearings etc. The room at the downtown courthouse is located on the 5th Floor, Room 519. Childrens Court has established Room 238 for nursing mothers at the Juvenile Justice Center. Court employees also have a designated employee nursing room.

“The Second Judicial District Court welcomes the opportunity to provide a comfortable space for nursing mothers,” said Chief Judge Nan Nash. 

If you have a request to use the public nursing room at the downtown Courthouse, contact Court Administration at 841-7425 or Purchasing at 841-7458. Contact Court Administration at 841-7644 for use of the public nursing room at Children’s Court. Court staff will accompany the mother to the room to open the room for their use. Court administration has installed a lock that indicates whether the room is occupied and in use and maintains privacy.

Second Judicial District Court Human Resource staff (Eric Mitchell, Human Resources Administrator Sr. and Janet Van Why, Human Resources Administrative Assistant 2) attended a recent Career Fair at La Cueva High School on October 25, 2017.  The career fair allowed students to explore various careers and network with professionals in the community.  Several students expressed their interest in learning about internship and career opportunities at the Second Judicial District Court.  Most students had questions about what it would take to be a lawyer or Judge and were highly interested in the legal profession.  The Second Judicial District Court is a great place to learn about the judicial system.

For more information about career opportunities and internships, contact the Human Resource Division at 841-7432.  Minors must have parental permission.  Click on this link for Second Judicial District Court Volunteer/Intern application.

The Second Judicial District Court Pro Bono Committee and the Volunteer Attorney Program (A Program of New Mexico Legal Aid) sponsor four Law-La-Palooza events each year aimed at helping low-income residents with their legal needs. The Law-La-Palooza events are free of charge and have helped over a thousand individuals get answers to their legal questions. 

The fourth Law-La-Palooza event for 2017 was held on October 19, 2017 at the Westside Community Center. Participants were able to speak with an attorney for thirty minutes about a variety of legal issues including name changes, consumer debt, immigration, and family law.  Volunteers are comprised of attorneys, judges, court staff, service providers, and law students.  Community service providers also staff tables to provide additional resources to attendees.  Volunteer attorneys were prepared to assist over 100 participants with various legal issues.  All participants were able to meet with an attorney with the greatest need for legal services were in family law and consumer debt cases.

The Second Judicial District Court Pro Bono Committee, along with the UNM School of Law Clinical Law Program and the Volunteer Attorney Program, will be sponsoring a REAL ID Legal Fair on November 4, 2017 from 10 AM until 2 PM at the UNM law school.  Bilingual attorneys and staff are available; there will be free parking.

The Second Judicial District Court Pretrial Services Division took part in the Albuquerque Celebrate Recovery event recently held on September 28, 2017 at the Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque. This is the Second Annual Celebrate Recovery event developed to acknowledge and promote National Recovery Month. The Court’s Pretrial Services Division provided the public with information on specialty courts.


Cassie & Judge WardOne of the most recognizable faces at the Bernalillo County Juvenile Justice Center belongs to Cassie, a 6-year-old Labrador retriever.

Cassie interacts with families, especially those with children, who need her friendship. When a girl is called to testify about traumatic abuse or neglect, Cassie might sit at her feet to provide solace. Or Cassie might stay with a sobbing boy who has just been separated from his parents after being placed into protective custody.

"Cassie provides great comfort in the courtroom and gets smiles from everyone she meets when she is in the building," Children’s Court Judge Marie Ward said.  "She is a silent companion who has a way of removing the edge from very difficult situations."

Cassie has been a presence at the Juvenile Justice Center since late 2013. She is a specially-trained Courthouse CASA dog, a name that is derived from the acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Cassie was purchased using a grant by New Mexico Kids Matter, the CASA program in Albuquerque. CASA believes that every child who has been abused, neglected or is in foster care deserves to have a dedicated volunteer advocate speaking up for them in court.

"We are very fortunate to have Cassie, both as a resource and as a friend," Judge Ward said.  "She brings a lift to everyone she meets and she is especially valuable to the children who need her most."

Cassie was trained by Assistance Dogs of the West, a Santa Fe-based accredited service dog organization that also provides service dogs for the Veterans Court program. Courthouse dogs have been used around the country since 2003.

For more information about CASA please visit

​Archived News

Butkus Honored As District Court Judge Of The Year

Honor comes from American Board of Trial Advocates

Albuquerque – The Honorable Carl J. Butkus has been named State District court Judge of the Year for 2015 by the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Each year, individuals are nominated for outstanding achievements in the legal community and are recognized an at awards dinner.

The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges who are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ABOTA works to uphold the jury system by educating the American public about the history and value of the right to trial by jury.

The Association seeks to foster improvements in the ethical and technical standards of practice in the field of advocacy so that individual litigants may receive more effective representation and the general public benefits by more efficient administration of justice consistent with time-tested and traditional principles of litigation.

The Honorable Karen Molzen, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge, was presented with the Federal Judge of the Year award for 2015.

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