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anything report from santa fe is made possible in part by grants from the us west providing advanced telecommunications services to new mexico homes and businesses and buy new mexico tech on the frontier of science and engineering education for bachelors masters and phd degrees new mexico tech is the college you've been looking for one eight hundred four to eight t e c h i'm on emails this is reports from santa fe our guest today joseph f aka the chief justice of the new mexico supreme court judge the longtime long time i see a lot of that going into this legislative session i was i was going through some notes and i remember when this was on three occasions when they had a state of the judiciary a message to the
legislature each time that's been given and i think you gave a clash last year that's right it's always been well received because people always think of us budget chief justice of being very restrictive an early almost as if the other limitations we don't ask you about certain things but whenever i've spoken to you whenever i've heard you speak you'd go far beyond what i would consider to be what i would ordinarily be at expecting for our audience today can you give us a rundown of the state of new mexico's judiciary in a sense of the funding all right now we're looking at it in the terms politicians not you another politician to look at in terms of how we address the next millennium and then we'll talk about some of the other issues i've heard you speak shirt a lot more any idea i think the state of the judiciary in terms of the people are working judiciary is very good we have excellent judges around the state working hard we have the support personnel that are highly trained
highly motivated and we're very very hard we're all proud of those votes now in terms of funding i can't say that there were right on top of that you know we can seal i believe it's two point six percent of the state budget and we're actually a third branch of government where we have two point three percent of what a twig on a branch of the soweto so where i were a little concerned about the underfunding of chronic underfunding think of the jury you know there are we're hearing that there are problems the shearer that revenues are not coming in as they would like others the request to reduce funding by sixteen percent that concerns very much so i can't say that the funding is pretty certain like talk about that moment when they talk about the sixteen percent reduction and this i think the governor and the lawmakers agree they have their own analysts but they do put their heads together
we're looking at about one hundred million more dollars coming in stride the lesson that for the year and general revenues for the next fiscal year of course expensive than are going up all of the we have i guess you'd call them standing expenses in spending growth more youngsters in school or people being incarcerated those expenses would total a lot more than a hundred hundred million dollars yet you constantly hear people saying we need time for judges' we need to keep people were incarcerated you know that you know there's another side to this that you're a very compassionate person you haven't i've known you for pretty closed almost forty years and are your concerns are not always were putting people in jail for example is that because you are the chief justice of the state that you like to make sure they don't go to jail in the first place you have concerns there to matter now they can do that without funding well thats true hours when
people are saying let's get over judges well let's put more people in jail why are our jails are full at the moment and they all got their rigorous injured put him in jail they don't go to jail you pass go you don't get to jail unless they've had a trial or some sort of judicial proceeding and then your sentence everybody who goes to jail virtually everybody who goes to jail eventually get out so well we're concerned about rehabilitation of folks when they're in jail because they will come out of that will be your neighbor and at some point that we hope that won't cut it anymore trouble so it is it's really a very complex situation and that one thing that's always overlooked the courts are case loads are growing the crime rate is growing more police officers are going on the street through federal funding and local funding prosecutors' offices are expanding but the courts are not and i am really up against it in terms of the case loads of concourse at the district level
course the court of appeals level and ultimately the supreme court about it i tend to automatically degrade that you're just overseeing all the court's at stake and a sense of tribe of the supreme court that is you know you have a responsibility for all of the courts all the way down to the smallest court i had an interesting experience where i'm first i was surprised that i had said that my youngster's the orthodontist ended up on a jerry ryman newsman traditionally i i don't think it's a question of saying that it's easy to get off of your nude and i think the onus on the every note too much but then i was surprised at the number of the people one was an acupuncturist is very fine musician and these are neighbors probably could have happened is he out and not going in are serving an injury they did each one sad and it's my responsibility and not turning it over to the next fellow and make for a very interesting finding from
that moment on years ago you and the cherry on the jury that's right and you've heard that oh yes the audio in the old days when i was a trial judge i used her jurors for thirty days the same panel of about twenty five people and at the end of that they were lifelong friends amicable romances and that's well takes it to another level is and the other thing i noticed in this particular case who is judge orenstein years and there was an impression on the jury for them to comment upon the dignity but which he treated the jury yes and they came and they base they stood up and he said that they survey says we stand up or you said the man at this party set you in a sense of the judge and mar mar mar weekend on the dignity with which he treated these people really struggle they were very touched by yelp we are either thank all judges are concerned about treating the jurors
correctly and freedom dignity and respect because we call me from their lives and introduce them to a subculture there in terms of criminal cases that they've never experienced before and sometimes rather shocking the kinds of things that go on in various communities around the state and there will be in the top job and pay minimum wage or against the job and say you decide this case you tell us of this person is guilty or not guilty and that's an awesome responsibility to were aware of that and try to create pictures very very well it was called for jury duty to albuquerque and just recently a couple years ago that centered on the supreme court in the end i was thinking gosh i go or should i go because i knew the north hollywood love me on the jury and i said i better go to set an example and i went in and i went through volunteering was a very interesting medical malpractice case and threw me off
i didn't make the effort then to visit her during government as the president does that have been interesting experience to two of the members jury to go into deliberations and listen the jurors but the thought is oh the supreme court justice really judge that you would dominate or people would refer to you or that you'd have more than one twelfth of the vote and so i understand and see and i was on a very non intimidating but i would wonder what would happen if they took the case and kept the feeling it and it got up to the supreme court i think that certainly with the decision of the jury and i you know i that the corps would have to sit down and think hard when i'm the monies to go into the courts the various levels how much of that of the money that goes into the courts now comes and the general fund is such an irregular appropriations and how much would come from the same things that i write that i don't have a feel for
that would be a vast majority of the money is that we do get come from the general though there are certain functions the session we floated some bonds to fund our statewide automation project and so fees are earmarked for that to really retire those bombs and that i'm not sure about five million dollars a year out of our budget that spending money that's bond in my yard and the ability and the computerization that's right we were trying know we are well down the road to statewide automation lincoln of course central repository so information will be available there's a lot of talk about people getting away with three four five six eight candy don't realize what what what what's happening here there's a lack of information that information was not available to the crowd through this system then they'll have access to that and they'll know the reasons are multiple offender
that's like part of it but the possibilities are so what other measures mind boggling i've always i find it interesting because the courts and the legislative session and he accepted this is a living breathing and the limits of the constitution are such minute changes there are other ways to set it up so it can be changed and i find it interesting because on this year and in no other time in my memory have we got right into legislative session with more lawmakers sign on whether so on and you're an end and again i don't think it's appropriate that we give a specific cases review now but there are probably three hanging fire and is the court under an obligation to act upon those in and the hurry it if i got together with another lawmaker said i'm going to take this thing and we're going to shoot the whole year activity with as much time in jail but if the court uses groups or a remarkable act on them for
another six months or three or four months or so there is an obligation for you to get that out of the way before the session starts well the courts have discretion on how to move the cases along certain classes of cases of the legislature's tools we need to move along quickly criminal cases must be driving six months workers compensation cases get priority children's court cases is a very short timeframe and we tried that in the mainland general civil litigation they can request and they would show them the burdens on them that there's some irreparable damage that will occur unless we act very quickly and so it has a heavy burden and the image shows that and they occasionally would be my job if you don't have this we might not have a legislative session there's something about a fairytale an end just don't say if he have to prove with others and in that situation we spoke
not to live goats within the last six months and i think someone would know somewhat shocked because they they said well we're going to continue as per for more money for computers and more money to public records and such or you spoke about the court's role and especially in the concerns over juvenile crime yes yes i'm your message always been important to me and i'd like to get your views for my audience and beyond bhangra were looking at there well the juvenile crime i think is the one area of crime in mexico that is actually growing our role were aware of the drive by shootings and robberies bank robberies and other adults were the activities actually build the statistics seem to show that there's a leveling off or maybe a slight decrease in crime that's not so with her with juvenile crime and continues to grow and the persons involve are getting younger and younger in the kinds of activities they're involving are getting more violent
than twenty five years i've been a good and sixteen years that i was a trial judge yeah i saw that the trend of more violence and so i that that's a great concern to us what what can we do and many times by the time they get there the plan a band aid and we've had a revision of arguable code couple years ago and i think there's some movement to try to look at again as crime gets more violent than younger and younger people engaged in violent behavior and this is a basic question you treat all jewels like the shoplifters the pink slippers along with those to commit murder rape and and i think the answer is probably no but that the hat you discern at it make that difference that we can turn this case has come before the various levels of the court's know you move away from
certain certain types occasion supreme court and at least as far as state court a concern that's the highest court appealed to and yet you also have a very strong role clinton my degree in and beat demeanour and a way in which attorneys and others at the record that certainly the drilling i had a day where we were he was a criminal court and i was i was surprised because in my particular case the attorneys and the judge and the judge pretty well can control a lot of them have i ever had one concern it would leave from people say to me about it i was robbed and i went in and the defense attorney made it seem as if i would be giving party you know for a judge who sees this constantly that one burnt for some of them go yeah how often do people end up in the courtroom
and they were somewhat shocked by the attorney behavior you think that has gotten out of line and i don't know if his identity percent much anymore either yeah i think it's the it's a national problem called rambo litigation and then forcing you will on someone and that has to be very disagreeable it's all right to disagree with jon and to be disagreeable and we understand that we're running an adversary system that to one side prisons one knew the other side prisons here the view that there has to be stability and how it's done and then a judge has a lot of responsibility and making certain that it doesn't get out a hand and i know around the country an end here locally there are a lot of continuing legal education courses engaging the lawyers engaging the judges we'll avenge our conference that addresses these kinds of things have you behave in court to try to
get an a young lawyers right after they are a minute and and tried and press on bail their responsibilities as lawyers and snap to be a bit more surely aggressively represent your client's but there's a way of doing the gentlemanly and ladylike way of doing that and so it is a problem and we're concerned about the image of the courts and the lawyers are not know ivan so secret helpful than not very high esteem because of some of the activities of the lawyers were concerned about that i'm aware of that kind of take some steps to address and i saw a bumper sticker believe in not that said some for justice and john a lawyer and you can see how that would happen on the other hand though you know that i think that those that we single out or certainly not a majority of attorneys human and i think those that do and you know
maintain the dignity of the court's one are in the majority you know it was kind of interesting thing many of it's like congressman congress persons people i think that congress is something wrong there but my congressman's ok and you know that or that lawyers have a bad reputation with the lawyer who represented me where my lawyer and as it has been issued so we've heard an unknown and when people talk today about government they asked for civility will you'll hear this through this legislative session that's coming up now people are saying that that was rather uncivil during the recent campaign and division of staff cutbacks civility and what it really means of people being pretty decent to one another we have when you appeared before this legislature and i rather expect given us do just that those are records of her bring a lot of heavy hand government and we're
calling upon the judiciary for advice and for guidance you know we we've had this summer whether people like gambling and that you know this course they come up going up the ladder go up to the federal courts is such a third the court's role is much more it's getting greater every day and i think they're going to look to you for guidance not only in how they handle their own affairs but in making sure that you look ahead for the next millennium what about the impact of television remember for you watch the tv shows you know you did so much of what we saw there you would find lawyers trying to imitate some of the lawyers they saw on tv we get the threat of how violent violence on television but when you're looking at is the major problems that are brought in from the outside influence
into the court system will only mentioning television in and you're mentioning these records ah i think are going to different question i think there's an interesting dichotomy that it's developing here on the one hand the courts are being criticized and lawyers and judges you've been criticized and on the other hand when people are really important matters where they go or and that's the way it's supposed to work rather than sending also in on the street with this is an answer that thing on and television and the courts are of course the ultimate television was the oj simpson case and however you feel about the verdict overturned out i think most people walked away with a bad impression of the court which is unfortunate you know one that started out in the primary hearing is being held before ugly rumors judge kennedy and i thought this is really very
good an educational because they're talking about the search and seizure issues that they invoked the constitution in the first ten amendments to the constitution and there's a real civics lesson for everybody didn't learn a little bit about search and seizure the right to privacy in and these kinds of issues and then after the materials over and got into the main event some our wheels came off that that was interesting because even admitted this early on a decision on that not to cover any aspect of that trial has said you know you you have an occasional report as years progressed into its three hundred and fifty of their iraq and a decision is expected in such a time for growth that the atlanta sold them as to when it becomes a sideshow the things that are allowed inside the courtroom and i think of that night said the other thing that is that is interesting here and then i really surprised by that the people in the media will make appeals for people for example on juries
and to say well it will be interested in you know possibly a book for a tv show i go back to the period as a young journalist when he would never bought a story was your right to go in and how this really was an unpardonable to go in and say come and buy this from you and then you say well it's thats my story's valuable you can give it any other news and in a sense you're denying access in a century that was pretty know that that is that's an interesting it used to be i guess a million babies source and the source was tainted in and actually believe that person but now it seems to be the way things are done someone somewhat universal anniversary we know for example and i always wanted to have a young reporter working with and i remember about the late bob barr to work with me for many many years and we had sat down and discussed it in and the laws very specific and newsman staying away from grand juries you
go to jail for as one good reason but they just you have no right to tamper with or get involved in the grand jury is a very important specific part of our court system justice system and that and yet to this day you know you're still find media people trying to play around with the grand jury's and that had thomas don pardo yes of course the grand juries when when you and i started out they were secret and there was not a word was was briefed about what it what occurred in the grand years over the years there's been a lifting of that veil of secrecy in the legislative process to court rules and more more information is coming out about what occurred in the grand jury and so i think it's probably a part of the equation here that sort of thing and then the willingness of people to talk and there's no reason not to talk i guess an enemy a possibility in a high profile case of being
paid fee for information i have a disaster i have often told to know about campaigning when a justice ireland always had been appointed i think back to nineteen fifty nine fifty eight ended and a signal will also and i remember most of the research is to love and review of the show which should mention that the times said garland seems to think it's time for a chief justice or justice of the court and asked the votes you don't have to know that you know they don't like that then the next day i remember i was on the campaign trail with an imo in recent supreme court i need your vote the new system or giving approval of a judge we just had our third round of retention elections and that has clearly was the most contentious around and i i came to tell the truth i am i think the jury's out on whether it works or it doesn't work and just came across my
desk or the oracle of florida longview comparing we have two systems and and a chance to relive that from a scholarly point of view i'm really interested to see how it works it was an eleventh collection and this is my first retention election and nine run in partisan elections before or had not had the poet that's the best collection we don't have a point that you know here she says i i found it very difficult in retention election to really address what was on the peoples mind that because i you know now is not that there's not somebody on the other side of point counterpoint to raise the issue's suspend component abs rights so there's no one out there than a point and missouri some organized opposition against some or all of the judges and so i think the germans are very very nervous and then having to get fifty seven percent this was the first time but i think
we really have to do it and got a pilot project going now is we need to get some information some unbiased information to the public about how the judges are performing and we have this pilot project than a second benefit and we'll begin statewide and this is nothing that it's unique to new mexico colorado our neighbor to the north is this all the time with every election where there's a commission that studies how the judge's ruling asks people who'd been the litigants who are lawyers who jurors expert witnesses in abiding gonna that christians court and then that information made public and has a recommendation for that or should be retained or not we can i think the public really needs that kind of information to make informed judgments and i just love the community of judges obviously all of the chaos forgive them turned out and they're with each judge needs to be viewed on his or her own marriage that's what we
like and good luck in his state of the judiciary message this year are learning those in our guest today the chief justice of the new mexico supreme court chose a vest pocket like to thank you for being with us and reports from santa fe report from santa fe is made possible in part by grants romney us west providing advanced telecommunications services to new mexico homes and businesses and buy new mexico tech on the frontier of science and engineering education for bachelors masters and phd degrees new mexico pick is the college you've been looking for one eight hundred four to eight t e c h
Report from Santa Fe
Joseph F. Baca
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KENW-TV (Television station : Portales, N.M.)
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KENW-TV (Portales, New Mexico)
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On this episode of Report from Santa Fe, host Ernie Mills interviews Chief Justice Joseph F. Baca from the New Mexico Supreme Court. Baca discusses the dynamics of the New Mexico judicial system and the chronic lack of funding for this branch of government. Guests: Ernie Mills (Host), Joseph F. Baca.
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Producing Organization: KENW-TV (Television station : Portales, N.M.)
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Chicago: “Report from Santa Fe; Joseph F. Baca,” 1996-12-21, KENW-TV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 2, 2023,
MLA: “Report from Santa Fe; Joseph F. Baca.” 1996-12-21. KENW-TV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 2, 2023. <>.
APA: Report from Santa Fe; Joseph F. Baca. Boston, MA: KENW-TV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from