This website cannot be viewed properly using this version of Internet Explorer.

To ensure your security while viewing this site, please use a modern browser such as Chrome or update to a newer version of Internet Explorer.

Download Chrome (Made by Google)
Update Internet Explorer (Made by Microsoft)


Second Judicial District Court

Tribunal del Segundo Distrito Judicial

English Español

Most Popular Pages

Páginas más visitadas

News Updates

The Second Judicial District Court’s Pro Bono Committee will host monthly Legal TeleClinics throughout the year 2021.

These clinic will allow individuals who cannot afford to hire attorneys to get advice on a wide range of legal matters including:

  • Family law
  • Real ID/name change
  • Landlord/tenant and other housing issues
  • Wills, estate and probate
  • Public benefits
  • Property/real estate
  • Employment
  • Immigration
  • Consumer law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal record expungement
  • Contracts

“The global pandemic has changed the way courts operate—causing most hearings to be held virtually, but it hasn’t stopped people from having to deal with legal issues. It has, however, made it more difficult for many people to get professional assistance with those issues,” said Judge Jane Levy, co-chair for the Second Judicial District Court’s Pro Bono Committee. “That is why the committee adopted the TeleClinic model last year, and we are continuing it this year.”

The clinics, scheduled for the first Thursday of each month, starting on February 4, will allow individuals to speak with attorneys about their specific legal issues. There will be no charge for these consultations. The Volunteer Attorney Program of New Mexico Legal Aid has recruited attorneys who have agreed to donate their time to staff the clinics.

Anyone wishing to attend one of the legal clinics can request a registration form by sending an email to or calling 505-521-6129.

At the end of the end of 2020, the Second Judicial District Court will lost a combined eighty-six years of judicial experience when seven judges stepped down from the bench. This distinguished group of departing jurists is led by Judge John Romero who retired after serving 17 years on the Children’s Court bench.

During his tenure on the bench, Judge Romero served as Presiding Judge of Children’s Court as well as an officer of many national organizations that work to improve the juvenile justice system, including a term as president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Judge Carl Butkus was the second-longest tenured jurist of the group, having served 15 years on the Civil Court bench. Judge Charles Brown, who at the time of his retirement, Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division, thirteen years on that bench.

The other departing judges are:

  • Christina Argyres , who served eight years on the District Court’s criminal bench and two years as a Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court Judge.
  • Jaqueline Flores, who served eleven years in the Criminal Division.
  • Daniel Gallegos, who served a year on the criminal bench, and also a year on the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
  • Cristina Jaramillo, who served six years on the District Court Criminal bench following twelve years as a Metro Court judge. Judge Jaramillo has worked extensively with drug courts, starting as an attorney and continuing as a judge. She is a past president of New Mexico Association of Drug Court Professionals, and past chair of the New Mexico Supreme Court Drug Advisory Committee.


In addition to the number of years of judicial experience represented, this changing of the guard means 24 percent of the judges presiding over cases in District Court next year will be new to their positions.

At this point, we only know who one of those new judges will be. Judge Courtney Weaks, formerly of Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, was elected in November to fill a spot on the Criminal bench. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham will make appointments to fill the remaining vacancies.

“Thank you to my colleagues for your extraordinary leadership and for your distinguished public service over the years. Each of you have been a part of our SJDC family, and we have valued your tremendous service to the community. You have all served the judiciary with great honor, wisdom, diligence, and a strong commitment to the judiciary,” said SJDC Chief Judge Stan Whitaker.

The Second Judicial District Court’s Pro Bono Committee was deemed “Pro Bono Committee of the Year” for 2020 by the Volunteer Attorney Program of New Mexico Legal Aid.

This designation recognizes the committee’s efforts at finding ways to continue providing legal services to people in dire economic straits despite the restrictions on in-person contact mandated by the global pandemic.

The SJDC Pro Bono Committee recruits attorney volunteers to staff monthly clinics where members of the public get free advice on family and civil legal issues. The committee also hosts special legal fairs such as REAL ID Fairs and Law-La-Palooza events where attorneys go to community centers to meet with the public and answer questions about their legal issues.

As it became clear that the public health emergency would not allow such events to take place for the foreseeable future, the committee turned to technology to continue serving the public.

The committee’s Co-Chairs, Judges Jane Levy and Erin O’Connell, accepted the award at the Volunteer Attorney Program’s virtual awards ceremony on October 30, 2020.

“This committee has remained active and engaged,” Melanie Fritzsche, program director for the Volunteer Attorney program, said in presenting the award. “Legal clinics are now provided regularly through tele-clinics. Projects of pro se videos are in production. We thank you all for your dedication to providing pro bono services.”

Aja Brooks, director of the SJDC Center for Self-Help and Dispute Resolution, and a member of the Pro Bono Committee, gave the keynote address at the awards ceremony. She outlined how and why the committee took the actions that led to it being named Committee of the Year.

“People who pro bono work is geared toward have been hit hardest by the pandemic,” she said. “As a result of businesses closing, unemployment skyrocketed. People began having trouble making ends meet, which resulted in problems paying rent, mortgages and debt. Something had to be done.”

The committee confronted the challenges directly and began looking for ways to provide services virtually while also recognizing that many people seeking these services would have trouble accessing technology.

“We were forced to think about the digital divide,” Brooks said. “This was the time for ingenuity and innovation — to change what had been the status quo.”

The committee converted its monthly legal clinics to tele-clinics, allowing people to attend either by video or telephone connections. The SJDC Self-Help Center started working with people via telephone and email. The committee recruited volunteer attorneys to make videos to give pro se parties information on various areas of law, and legal service organizations began offering instructional classes over social media platforms like Facebook. “We did podcasts and webinars,” Brooks said. “We certainly adapted to the new circumstances created by the pandemic.”

She also thanked all of the volunteer attorneys who worked to make these new services available to the public. “This proves that we are adaptable, and that even during a crisis we just want to help each other, which is necessary now more than ever.”

In closing, Brooks expressed confidence that many of these new delivery platforms will remain in place when the pandemic dissipates, offering an improved landscape of services for pro se parties. “We have learned to survive and continue providing essential legal services to the public during a pandemic,” she said. “I hope we retain most of what we have learned for the future. Let’s keep doing what needs to be done to help others.”

There has been a lot of construction at the Juvenile Justice Center this year, resulting in a new courtroom and a new home for the JJC Clerk’s Office.

These projects officially broke ground the first of this year, but their origins can be traced as far back as 2015, when Second Judicial District Court’s Space Needs Committee recognized the need for additional courtrooms at both JJC and the downtown courthouse.

“The committee created a plan that calls for the exploration of a second courthouse given the Court’s growth and community needs,” said Presiding Children’s Court Judge Marie Ward, “but that obviously is a long-term plan. The first goal of the Court has been to ensure that we are using the space we currently have as efficiently as possible in our two locations.”

With that in mind, the committee sought a way to address the immediate need for improved safety and additional courtroom space at the JJC’s current location, where six Judicial Officers—three Judges and three Special Masters—were sharing three courtrooms.  This past legislative session Children’s Court added an additional Judge.

Presiding Children’s Court Judge Marie Ward, left, and SJDC Deputy CEO Monica Rodriguez in the new courtroom at the Juvenile Justice Center. Judge Ward says the new courtroom has numerous features that make it an appropriate environment for a Children’s Court.

Ultimately, working with Bernalillo County officials, the committee devised a plan to relocate the JJC Clerk’s Office and build a new courtroom in that space. This plan, which moved the Clerk’s Office from the center of the building’s first floor to a spot near the entrance, made sense for a number of reasons.

“Having the Clerk’s Office in the center of the building made it less accessible to the public,” said Monica Rodriguez, the Court’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, “nor did the office have adequate security for constant public interaction.”

Now, the Clerk’s Office is located near the JJC’s front entrance, adjacent to the security station where Sheriff’s Deputies check in visitors. The office now also has multiple sets of doors providing extra security, and behind those doors is new, upgraded office space for the Clerk’s Office staff.

“JJC clerks were amazing through this process,” Monica said. “The Clerk’s office had to be relocated to two separate spaces during part of the construction, which presented challenges, but the staff continued to provide excellent customer service. Their positive attitude through it was impressive.”

The Clerk’s Office moved to it new permanent space in mid-March, allowing construction of the new courtroom to begin shortly thereafter. The courtroom, which is almost ready to host its first hearing, is strikingly different from the other three courtrooms at JJC.

The first thing a visitor to the new courtroom might notice are the windows letting in the natural light lacking in the other JJC courtrooms. Judge Ward said the windows are one of many features in the new courtroom’s design that help to create a fitting environment for a Children’s Court.   

Space to arrange tables in a circle is among the features that make the new JJC Courtroom appropriate for a Children’s Court.

Other features include room for arranging tables in circular fashion, and a modular jury box that can be removed to allow for even more open seating space for hearings in which juries are not involved.

This design will be especially helpful for hearings related to sensitive matters, such as child welfare cases, Judge Ward said. “It will allow for creating a more trauma-informed setting, putting people in a circle where the parties can feel more like equal partners in a discussion rather than having seating dictated by the courtroom layout,” she said. “This is a much more appropriate, and much safer, environment for hearings in which people sometimes, understandably, become emotional.”

Judge Ward credits the Bernalillo County Facilities staff as well as the project’s architects, Studio Southwest, and Anchor Built, the construction contractor, with bringing this environment to life. “They really grasped our concerns about maintaining courthouse safety while also creating a comfortable environment,” Judge Ward said. “The contractor was amazing, even operating under COVID-19 constraints. There was excellent communication throughout this project between the county, contractor and the court in creating this space that was so desperately needed.”

Judge Ward is extremely grateful to the Bernalillo County Commission for providing funding for this project, County Manager Julie Morgas Baca, Mary Murnane, the county’s Director of Fleet and Facilities Management and Cliff Youngberg, the county’s Building Management and Maintenance Program Manager, who steered the project to completion.

She also wants to acknowledge all SJDC staff who had a part in the project—including former Chief Judge Nan Nash and former CEO Jim Noel, whose early advocacy of the project helped “fulfill a great need for the public and court staff.”


Though they have different backgrounds, the Second Judicial District Court’s two new judges are approaching this next stage of their legal careers with the same goal in mind: to administer justice with a sense of compassion and fairness.

On July 2, 2020, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Lucy Boyadjian Solimon and Clara Marissa Moran to fill two newly created seats on this court’s bench. Chief Judge Stan Whitaker administered their oaths of office—officially making them judges—on July 27, 2020. They both are presiding over cases in the Criminal Division. 

Both new judges graduated from the University Of Mexico School Of Law, but their paths to law school—and ultimately to  the Second Judicial District Court—are quite different.

From Lebanon to Albuquerque 

Judge Solimon was born in Lebanon, and immigrated to the United States with her parents, who are Armenian, when she was six years old. She grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley and earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Occidental College, where she met her husband, Justin Solimon, a Native of Laguna Pueblo. She then earned a second bachelor’s degree in Spanish from UNM. 

Since graduating from UNM law school in 2007, Judge Solimon has worked as both a defense attorney and prosecutor, and has State, Federal, and Administrative court experience. 

She started her career in the New Mexico Public Defender’s Office helping indigent clients. She spent some time in private practice, including running her own practice, serving diverse clients throughout New Mexico. She later served the Pueblo of Laguna as a Special Assistant US Attorney prosecuting violent crimes committed against women and children on American Indian reservations throughout the various Pueblos and Nations in New Mexico. At the time of her appointment to the bench, Judge Solimon was the Enforcement Bureau Chief and Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of New Mexico where she oversaw investigations and prosecutions with respect to violations of the Workers’ Compensation Act and Regulations.

Judge Solimon’s unique experience as a defense attorney and prosecutor, working  with diverse defendants and victims, has given her the ability to understand the nuance and outlook experienced on both sides and elicits her appreciation for balance and fairness. “This experience will allow me to listen to competing interests with an open mind, to be fair and impartial,” Judge Solimon said. As a presiding Judge, she will continue to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair and reliable, keeping in mind the safety of our community and ensuring constitutional rights to due process of law.  

“I am the first in my family to go to college and law school,” she said. “At times, I thought I would end up doing non-profit work focused on non-violence and education. I really think early intervention can help some people.”

Judge Solimon’s dedication to public service is grounded in her own life experience and she is confident that her personal and professional experiences are an asset in her position as Judge. She is proud to call New Mexico her home and to serve the community.    

A native New Mexican

Judge Moran is a New Mexico native. She was born in Albuquerque and moved to Las Cruces with her family in second grade. She left New Mexico to attend college in Maryland, and returned to get her law degree at UNM.

She spent her entire career as a prosecutor, most recently serving as Chief Deputy Attorney General overseeing the    Criminal Affairs Division of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Though she prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, she is ready for the very different role of a judge.

“I am honored and humbled by the whole experience,” Judge Moran said of her appointment. “This is a way to continue my public service. I want to bring compassion to job, and I hope to work with district attorneys and public defenders in a way that inspires them to remain in public service.”

Judge Moran also said 15 years as a prosecutor has shown her that judges make decisions that impact peoples’ lives. “I want to be able to distinguish between when someone can benefit from rehabilitation versus when someone is dangerous and needs to be incarcerated,” she said. 

Judge Moran said her life experiences, which include being raised by a school counselor and a physician, fuel her drive for public service.  “I am really thrilled to give back to the community that I have lived in and invested in,” she said.

Both on the job and off, Judge Moran will have the support of her close-knit family, including her husband, Richard Moran, and her parents who moved to Albuquerque from Las Cruces to be near their 10 and 11-year-old granddaughters. 

She also said whenever she takes the bench, she will heed the advice of a veteran Second Judicial District Court Judge, the Hon. Clay Campbell, who once told her, “Never forget that it is about people.” 

Click here to View PDF Version



In an effort to address common questions that are arising from parents trying to follow public health orders and their parenting plan and attorneys’ concerns about court procedure, we are providing direction in this letter.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a life-altering experience for everyone. But for some people—including some clients in the SJDC’s Treatment Courts—it has been almost life-shattering.

This population has been among the hardest hit by job loss, food shortages and other hardships. For some of them, these changes threatened efforts to recover from the addictions or psychological trauma underlying the behavior that brought them into the criminal justice system.

Recognizing these facts, the SJDC Treatment Court teams have taken extra steps to support their clients.

“When we are talking about Young Adult Court, Mental Health Court, and even the Juvenile Treatment Court, these are people who are in the very early stages of recovery,” said Coral Mendez-Flores, the Young Adult Court Lead Worker.

“We were seeing people in fear. Some of them had lost jobs, then they had stay-at-home orders forcing them into isolation. We saw a few relapses,” added Tanya Tijerina, Clinical Operations Manager for the Treatment Courts. “So, we had to find a way to stay in close contact with them.”

Like nearly everyone else in the pandemic, the team turned to technology to help maintain that contact, scheduling Google Meet sessions to continue the face-to-face contact that normally comes with in-person visits. Google Meet also is being used to host the group therapy sessions that are a critical component of treatment courts.

Through these sessions, the team quickly realized that many of their clients needed more than just emotional support. “When you’re in the early stages of recovery, you’re basically learning how to be an adult,” Tanya said. “We’re also talking about a population that is not accustomed following the news. So, when COVID hit, they didn’t quite know what it was. ”

In response, the team developed an educational program to help clients understand the dangers the virus poses and how to protect themselves and their families. That program revealed the fact that many clients did not have basics things they needed to survive the pandemic.

“Everything shut down so quickly that even our court staff, as mature individuals, were having trouble finding some basic necessities,” Tanya said. “It was even more difficult for our clients, many of whom don’t have transportation and have to take a bus to the store.”

Truckloads of donations

Staff members from the three Treatment Courts started donating items to distribute to the clients. Additional donations quickly came from the Courts’ primary treatment provider, Perfectly Imperfect, and deputies from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. “We literally gathered truckloads of Kleenex, bathroom tissue, hygiene products, cleaning supplies and other items to create care packages for the clients,” Tanya said.

Coral, as the staff member with the most regular contact with the clients, take notes during her meetings with them, to determine what things individual clients need. That information is now used to make sure the care packages that each individual receives addresses their specific situation. As a result, some care packages include food, personal protection equipment and baby supplies.

Tanya joins staff from Perfectly Imperfect and BCSO deputies each Friday to distribute the care packages and talk with the clients. “We call them on the phone to come outside, leave the package on their porch, and talk to them from the curb to ensure we remain at least six feet apart at all times.” Tanya said. “We talk about their mental health or any other problems they might have.”

One such conversation revealed a client’s need for emergency dental work, which the team was able to help him arrange. Other clients got information on how to apply for unemployment, housing assistance or other benefits.

All of the clients are receiving emotional support. One week that support included boxes of Little Caesars pizzas. Another week it included personalized greeting and gifts cards from Judge Cindy Leos, who presides over Young Adult Court.

This extra support is helping clients stay on track with their respective programs. “We have seen increased communication and honesty from clients, even from those who are struggling,” Tanya said. “They are telling us that they need help with depression or drug cravings, because they realize we are there to help them, not to catch them doing something wrong.”

Q: Why is screening taking place?
A: The Second Judicial District Court (SJDC) is committed to taking precautions to safeguard our employees and members of the public. In accordance with CDC guidelines and recommendations, the New Mexico Supreme Court issued Order No. 20-85-00023 which requires screening at the entrances to our courthouses.  This screening process offers the best way to minimize risk of exposure and infection for our employees and members of the public. 

Q: Who is being screened at the SJDC?
A: Every visitor and employee will be screened at all SJDC locations (400 Lomas Blvd. NW, 5100 Second St. NW).

Q: Why am I required to wear a face mask?
All individuals entering the SJDC are required to wear a face mask in accordance with the New Mexico Supreme Court Order No. 20-8500-017.  If you do not have a face mask one will be provided to you at no charge.  Face masks can slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. This is part of our continued effort to protect our employees and visitors from exposure to COVID-19.

If you refuse to wear a face mask you will be denied entry to the courthouse. 

Q: Are you unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition?
Generally the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits places of public accommodation having restrictions that would limit access to an individual with a disability. However, the ADA does allow restrictions when an individual would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. COVID-19 is currently considered a direct threat. If you are unable to wear a face mask due to a medical condition, please contact the SJDC’s Title II ADA Coordinator, Lisa Y. Schatz-Vance, at 505-841-7615.

Q: What happens if I screen positive for symptoms of COVID-19?
A: At the point of screening, visitors and employees who have a fever (100.4 degrees) or respiratory symptoms, or responses to screening questions that indicate an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, will be denied entry to the courthouse. 

Q: How often will I need to be screened?
A: Court visitors and employees will be screened every time you enter the courthouse.   

Q: Is social distancing being practiced in the screening lines?
A: The screening site has quite a bit of room to encourage social distancing while visitors and employees are waiting to be screened.

Q: Who can see the information that I am submitting through the screening process? With whom will it be shared?
Information submitted through the screening questions will be treated as confidential information. 

Q: How long will the daily screenings be in effect?
The daily screening requirement will be in effect until further notice.

If you have questions about the screening procedures taking place at the SJDC, please contact Court Administration at 505-841-7425.


Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 7, 2020 — The Second Judicial District Court’s Center for Self-Help has modified its operations to continue to serving individuals dealing with legal issues without the assistance of an attorney during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The center has closed the window in the courthouse where members of the public normally come for assistance. However, it has opened additional phone lines for reaching self-help center staff, in addition to assigning additional staff to respond to emails seeking help.

The Center for Self Help provides forms that are required for individuals to file or respond to court actions in civil legal cases. The center’s staff can tell individuals what information the court requires on the form for a case to proceed. The staff does not provide legal advice.

The center assists more than 13,500 individuals each year.

“The Center for Self-Help is one of the most vital functions of this court. The number of people the center serves each year is an indication of the problem citizens have when it comes to affording legal representation in civil matters,” said Second Judicial District Court Chief Judge Stan Whitaker. “The center’s staff should be commended for finding creative ways to continue serving the public during this current crisis.”

While COVID-19 social distancing measures are in place, the Center for Self-Help is offering the following options for receiving assistance:

  • If you have a phone and/or internet access:
    • Please call us from 9 AM until 4 PM, Monday-Friday at one of the following numbers:

      (505) 841-6702

      (505) 841-7579

      (505) 841-5409

    • Or email us at
    • For assistance in Spanish please call us from 9 AM until 4 PM, Monday-Thursday at 505-841-5413.
    • Or email us at
  • If you do not have a phone or internet access, there are phones located at the Second Judicial District Court that you can use to speak with a Self-Help staff member.  Please use the phone located on the first floor at Self-Help Window 1 in Room 119 or the phone on the first floor in the Jury Division in Room 127.

  • You don’t have to come to Court to get legal forms/packets! Legal forms and packets are available for free by e-mailing us at, and on our website at

  • Legal forms/packets are also temporarily free of charge and available at the Second Judicial District Court on the first floor in Room 119, near the information window.

The Court Clerk’s Office remains open to accept forms for filing.

Please be advised that if you intend to submit exhibits for your upcoming hearing they must be submitted at least 48 hours prior to your scheduled hearing. You must submit a copy to the Court and a copy to the opposing party or attorney.

You can submit your paper Exhibits to Please note if we print out paper exhibits (i.e. text messages, photos, etc.) they will be in black and white.

If you have electronic exhibits they must be provided on a USB flash drive or CD to the Court. You can also include any paper exhibits on the flash drive, please note these will not be returned to you. You may also deliver your exhibits to the Court Monday through Friday from 8 to 12 and 1 to 5 in room 274, or you can mail them to the DV Division, P.O. Box 488, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

If Exhibits are not submitted to the Court and the opposing party at least 48 hours in advance, they may not be allowed at the hearing.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Domestic Violence Division at (505) 841-6737 or send an email to

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Second Judicial Court will not require notary public certifications on applications to waive fees for filing a legal action, when those applications are based on the individual’s inability to pay.

The waived fees typically include court filing costs and the cost of having notice of the action served on the opposing parties. Waiver of these fees is known as granting the party “free process.” The granting of free process, which can happen in civil or domestic relations cases, requires filling out an application verifying that the applicant does not have sufficient income to pay the filing fees. Under normal circumstances, a notary public would have to certify that the individual submitting the application is also the person whose signature appears on the form.

“The temporary suspension of the requirement to have these applications notarized is a recognition of the fact that a lot of the places where someone would go to have a form notarized are closed during this crisis,” said Second Judicial District Court Chief Judge Stan Whitaker. “We don’t want that to prevent people from having access to the court.”

Free Process application packets can be obtained in the following ways:

       •    Downloading it from the court’s website
       •    Emailing the court’s Center for Self-Help and Dispute Resolution at 
       •    Picking it up in person on the first floor of the Second Judicial District courthouse, 400 Lomas, Blvd. NW.

You also can call the Center for Self-Help and Dispute Resolution with questions at 505-841-6702. 

The Second Judicial District Court has implemented new screening procedures to prevent individuals who may have contracted the COVID-91 virus from entering the courthouse.

Signs are now in front of the courthouse, at 400 Lomas, NW, instructing people to ask themselves three questions before entering. The questions are:

  1. Have you been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  2. Over the past two weeks, have you developed flu-like symptoms, such as a cough, a fever, or shortness of breath?
  3. Have you traveled outside of New Mexico within the last thirty days to any high-risk area?

No one who can answer “yes” to any of those questions should enter the courthouse. Instead, they can look at the second sign posted at the entrance listing phone numbers for all divisions of the court. Individuals can call the appropriate number to find out how to resolve for which they were coming to court.

These procedures also are in effect at the Second Judicial District Children’s Court Building at 5100 Second St. NW, as well as the offices housing the court’s Pretrial Services programs.

“These screening procedures are part of our ongoing effort to balance public safety with the need for the court to fulfill its constitutional duty of ensuring that all individual members of the public have access to the judicial, even in times of crisis,” said Second Judicial District Chief Judge Stan Whitaker.

Chief Judge Whitaker issued an administrative order outlining the new screening procedures on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. He also issued an order detailing additional precautionary measures the court is taking to guard against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The precautionary measures mirror those ordered by the New Mexico Supreme Court and include:

  • Suspending criminal jury and civil jury trials that have not started.
  • Conducting all court proceedings in a manner to minimize contact among people in the courtroom. This includes, when possible, conducting proceedings by telephone and video to eliminate the need for attorneys and litigants to be physically present in a courtroom.
  • Limiting the number of inmates transported from jails to courthouses for hearings.
  • Implementing enhanced cleaning procedures in the courthouse.
  • Suspending out-of-state work travel for court employees and requiring a 14-day self-isolation period for employees and judges who have traveled to a COVID-19 high-risk area, and imposing a self-isolation period for employees and staff who travel out-of-state on personal business starting March 18.

For updates on the Second Judicial District Court’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the court’s website at or follow the court’s Twitter feed @SJDCNEWMEXICO.

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

District Court’s Front Office Staff Consistently Delivers Outstanding Customer Service

The Second Judicial District Court’s stated mission includes providing services to the diverse community of Bernalillo County in a knowledgeable and safe environment. The staff in the Court’s Scanning Division takes that mission to heart.

This division is responsible for scanning, quality checking and organizing files related to the thousands of cases that flow through the district court each year. The Scanning Division also staffs the Court’s Information Desk, which fields questions from people who contact the Court by phone or when they walk into the building.

In 2017, the Information Desk processed a total of 35,996 telephone calls and assisted 25,442 individuals in person.

Elissia Torres is primarily responsible for staffing the Information Desk and is well known for being extremely helpful in getting members of the public the information they need—whether communicating with them in phone or in person. Elissia also assists in developing articles and taking photographs for the Court’s website.

Other division employees also enthusiastically staff the Information desk when called upon, along with their other duties. Several of those staff members are Language Access Specialists. They provided language interpretation services to members of the public more than 700 times in 20017.

The Second Judicial District says kudos to the entire Scanning Division for a job well done.

back to list

Disclaimer:  All efforts are made to ensure that information and links are accurate and current. However, users should not cite this information as an official or authoritative source and are advised to independently verify all information. Visitors to this site agree that the Second Judicial District Court of the State of New Mexico is not liable for errors or omissions of any of the information provided. Information contained on this web site should in no way be construed as legal advice. Users should contact an attorney if they require legal assistance or advice.