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Grant Order Re Hearing to Unseal Files

Grant Order Re Hearing to Unseal Files

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Published by: newsguy44 on May 13, 2010
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05/12/2010

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICOMay 12, 2010NO. 32,334INQUIRY CONCERNING A JUDGENOS. 2010-035 thru 2010-055IN THE MATTER OF VICTORIA J. GRANT,Metropolitan Court Judge, Bernalillo County, New MexicoORDER
WHEREAS, in Article VI, Section 32, of the New MexicoConstitution, the people of New Mexico created the Judicial StandardsCommission to investigate complaints against judges, conduct hearings,and make recommendations to the New Mexico Supreme Court todiscipline or remove a judge for good cause established in evidentiary hearings at the Commission level;WHEREAS, Article VI, Section 32, mandates that all papers filed with the Commission and all proceedings before the Commission areconfidential and remain so until the record is filed by the Commission inthis Court;WHEREAS, this Court, pursuant to its constitutional powers of superintending control of the judicial branch provided in Article VI,
 
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Section 3, promulgated Rule 27-201 NMRA, which provides for a pre-hearing temporary suspension of a judge where it is deemed inappropriatethat the judge continue to exercise judicial functions pending the dueprocess determination of the validity of charges filed before theCommission, not as punishment before a merits hearing, but as aprecautionary measure to protect the integrity of the judiciary;WHEREAS, this Court promulgated Rule 27-104(B), which providesthat “[t]o protect the privileged and confidential nature of proceedingsthat are pending before the Commission as required by Article VI, Section32, of the New Mexico Constitution, any papers filed in the Supreme Courtbefore the conclusion of formal proceedings in the Commission shall beautomatically sealed . . . and shall not be disclosed to anyone . . . withoutfurther order of the court”; that “the conclusion of formal proceedingsoccurs when the Commission holds an evidentiary hearing and issuesfindings, conclusions, and a recommendation of discipline based on thatevidence”; and that “petitions for temporary suspension and responsesfiled pursuant to Rule 27-201 NMRA are subject to the automatic sealingprovisions of this paragraph and shall remain sealed and confidentialunless the Court grants the petition”;
 
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WHEREAS, on April 16, 2010, petitioner, Judicial StandardsCommission, filed a Rule 27-201(A)(4) NMRA petition for immediatetemporary suspension of respondent, Metropolitan Court Judge VictoriaGrant, from judicial office prior to any evidentiary hearing before theCommission and before any findings, conclusions, and recommendationshad been made on the unproven allegations, and accordingly filed itspetition and supporting documents under seal, as required by Rule 27-104(B);WHEREAS, this Court thereupon requested a response fromrespondent to show cause why the Commission’s petition should not begranted and scheduled a hearing before the Court on May 4, 2010;WHEREAS, on April 29, 2010, the Commission and respondent jointly filed in this Court under seal a Stipulation to Immediate Temporary Suspension, providing that respondent would be temporarily suspendedfrom judicial office pending completion of the Commission’s proceedings,that the first ninety (90) days of any suspension would be with pay, andthat the Court should review the matter after ninety (90) days todetermine whether the pay should continue, all in lieu of the adversarialhearing scheduled for May 4, and in lieu of any ruling by the Court on any 

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