Stop Judicial Corruption in New Mexico
  • Petitioned New Mexico Governor

This petition was delivered to:

New Mexico Governor
New Mexico State Senate
New Mexico State House

Stop Judicial Corruption in New Mexico

    1. Dennis W Montoya
    2. Petition by

      Dennis W Montoya

      Rio Rancho, NM

There is an increasing threat to the Administration of Justice in New Mexico posed by the out-of-control use of political contributions and campaign financing to influence judicial selections.  The most recent sordid chapter in this matter is being played out in the New Mexico Courts with the indictment of Judge Michael Murphy, District Judge in Las Cruces, for bribery in connection with his own judicial appointment.  (The indictment has since been dismissed in a sealed order, but was subsequently reinstated.)  Based on Judge Murphy's own comments as reported in the media, this indictment may be but the tip of the iceberg for this issue, which gives cause for alarm, and is of great public concern.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. VICTOR LOPEZ - Publicly Funded Candidate for NM Court of Appeals Judge

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      We desperately need to get the money out of New Mexico judicial politics. Victor Lopez is the ONLY Democratic judicial candidate running on Public Campaign Financing. That means that, other than a small amount of start up contributions from lawyers and law firms, Judge Lopez will accept NO MONEY from corporations, NO MONEY from lawyers, NO MONEY from law firms, and NO MONEY from wealthy or other individuals. His primary election opponent, Monica Zamora, has accepted donations from at least 110 law firms and lawyers, the largest of these being a $5,000 contribution from a Texas personal injury law firm with a possible satellite office in Santa Fe. Commit an Act of Democracy Today! Stop Judicial Corruption in New Mexico! Support Victor Lopez for New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge!

    2. Thomas Jefferson - Term Limits for Judges is the Way to Go

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      "The original error [was in] establishing a judiciary independent of the nation, and which, from the citadel of the law, can turn its guns on those they were meant to defend, and control and fashion their proceedings to its own will." --Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 1807. FE 9:68

    3. Support Public Campaign Financing of Judicial Candidates

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      We are collecting $5 Public Campaign Financing contributions for New Mexico Court of Appeals judicial candidate Victor S. Lopez. When a judicial candidate runs on Public Campaign Financing, he or she ACCEPTS NO MONEY from corporations or special interests, or from individuals. Instead, the candidate collects about 2500 "Qualifying Contributions" of $5 (payable to "PUBLIC ELECTION FUND"). These are turned in to the NM Secretary of State, and the candidate is then qualified for about $85,000 in Public Campaign Financing. I STRONGLY SUPPORT PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCING FOR JUDGES AND OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS. It helps keep our public officials honest and free from the corrupting influence of special interest financing. PLEASE HELP WITH YOUR $5 CONTRIBUTION. Just download the form, print it, attach check or money order for $5 (and ONLY $5 per form, please!) and mail it to VICTOR S. LOPEZ FOR NM COURT OF APPEALS / PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCE FUND/ PO BOX 15235 / RIO RANCHO, NM 87174-0235.

    4. Part 3 (Final) - Albuquerque Journal Tells Part of the Story

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      The combination of the "secret society" mentality and the judicial selection and appointment process creates a serious danger to democracy and opens the justice system to influence peddling and corruption. Court of Appeals Judge Linda Vanzi openly stated to an assembly of the Albuquerque Bar Association in 2010 that the public should not be allowed to vote for judges at all - except whether to retain a judge appointed by the governor. Such a system would make even more absolute the secret power and corruption of the New Mexico bench. Stop Judicial Corruption in New Mexico!

    5. Part 2 - Albuquerque Journal Tells Part of the Story.

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      The truth of the matter is that the problem extends far beyond the handful of individuals prosecuted, either criminally or administratively, for alleged misconduct on the bench. The manner in which judicial campaigns are funded and the manner in which judicial appointments are made is closer to the heart of the problem. Mike Murphy in Las Cruces is being prosecuted for being "too up front" about the "pay-to-play" system that put him into office. This system either arose or was greatly expanded under former governor Bill Richardson, and Murphy is but the tip of the iceberg with respect to those judges who benefited from it. Gallagher is right, however, that the Judicial Standards Commission operates in almost complete secrecy, and the public is unable to discover much, if anything, about charges that are filed against judges. Only in some instances does official action against a judge issue and become public record. (Continued in Part 3)

    6. Albuquerque Journal Tells Part of the Story: JSC "Hidden From View"

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      The Albuquerque Journal's Mike Gallagher (see linked article) barely mentions Robert Robles, Linda Vanzi's close friend and campaign "bodyguard" who was forced into retirement from the New Mexico Court of Appeals by his DWI conviction, and does not show Robles's picture. The Journal does show the photographs of about a dozen other New Mexico judges involved in scandals over the years. Most of these did not involve the selection and appointment process. Some, like Ira Robinson and Joe Cruz Castellano, did little wrong other than to fall on the wrong side of the powerful cabal of gubernatorial appointees that controls the New Mexico judiciary. What Robinson and Castellano have in common is that they were able to win judicial positions on their own political merits - they did not have to "buy" their way in, or secure appointment through political favors. This made them enemies of the "powers that be."

      Continued in Part 2 -

    7. Judge Michael Murphy Did Not Act in a Vacuum

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      Audio recordings portray him as corrupt and homophobic, and he is charged with "buying" his judicial appointment, but Judge Michael Murphy did not act in a vacuum! The police report accompanying the originally-filed charges reads like a "Who's Who" of the New Mexico judiciary. The attitudes of arrogance, entitlement, and immunity are rampant in the judicial profession in our state. Only the public's involvement will restore reason and democracy to the bench. Stop Judicial Corruption in New Mexico!

    8. Las Cruces Magistrate Judge Wingenroth Censured

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      A Las Cruces Magistrate Judge, Kent Wingenroth, has been censured by the New Mexico Supreme Court for his handling of a State Juvenile Probation Officer, Robert S. "Rocky" Jaurequi's, arrest and detention for Aggravated DWI . Jaurequi was arrested after attending a charity golf tournament organized by the judge. Is this a new take on "pay to play?" Should we call it "play to walk?" Stop Judicial Corruption in New Mexico!

    9. CHARGES AGAINST DOÑA ANA COUNTY JUDGE MICHAEL MURPHY REINSTATED.

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      Several days after he dismissed charges in a sealed order, specially-appointed Judge Leslie Smith has reversed himself, stating, "I refuse to be led into error by what I consider to be incomplete briefing," and reinstated a bribery indictment against Michael Murphy in connection with his appointment to the district court bench. A new trial date has been set for February 2012. A police report released by the prosecutor's office at the time the charges were originally brought reads like a "who's who" of the New Mexico Judiciary, including mention of at least one Supreme Court Justice and many District Judges from across the state who are alleged to have played some role in the alleged "pay to play" scheme involving judicial appointments by former Governor Bill Richardson.

    10. Richardson Appointees Gave Much More Than Predecessors

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      By an investigator’s account, Judge Mike Murphy in 2007 brazenly explained to other judges the way he thought judicial appointments worked under then Gov. Bill Richardson. It was simple. You pay to play. To believe otherwise was “old fashion,” Murphy reportedly told another judge who thought it improper that political contributions would have anything to do with the selection of new judges. A review of campaign-finance records confirms at least part of the claim. Campaign contributions have been the fashion among some judges recently enrobed in New Mexico. This link to New Mexico Watchdog.org 's website gives a synopsis of top campaign contributors among New Mexico judges. Two members of the Supreme Court, including Charlie Daniels, the current Chief Justice, were top contributors.

    11. Murphy charges dismissed in sealed order - subject to re-filing

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      Retired U.S. Mag. Judge Leslie Smith, himself a former New Mexico District Judge (7th Judicial District ) has dismissed the bribery indictment against Las Cruces State District Judge Michael Murphy in a sealed order. The charges may be re-filed.

    12. We have reached 200 signatures

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      The petition will now be transmitted for the second time to Governor Susana Martinez and both houses of the New Mexico State Legislature. Thanks for your support! Onward to 300!

    13. We are about to hit 200 signatures.

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      We are at 196 and counting! Once we have 200, I will e-mail the governor, the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. Every day we move closer to real judicial reform in New Mexico.

    14. Political Contributions Drive Judicial Selection in New Mexico

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      NOT ONLY receiving campaign contributions, but donating campaign contributions fuels a "culture of corruption" in the New Mexico judiciary. One of the top 3 donors to the campaign funds of other politicos is our own NM Supreme Court Chief Justice.

    15. Latest Scandal Underscores Need for a Corruption-Free Judiciary

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      The latest scandal involving Judge Albert "Pat" Murdoch patronizing a prostitute underscores the need for a New Mexico judiciary that is not driven by money and politics. Encourage your friends and family to sign the petition!

    16. Judge Murdoch scandal underscores the need for judicial reform

      Dennis W Montoya
      Petition Organizer

      Judge "Pat" Murdoch, one of Albuquerque's most outstanding judges, & the chief criminal judge in the 2nd Judicial Dist., has been arrested for rape & intimidating a witness. How can this happen? A culture of impunity, driven by money and politics.

    17. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Rene Ostrochovsky ALBUQUERQUE, NM
      • over 2 years ago

      license to practice law was "suspended" through fraudulent accusations upheld by the "supreme court justices" for withdrawing from a sham case after being terminated by the clients. Paul Fish the Chair of the alleged "disciplinary board" threatened me and followed through with the fraudulent allegations of professional misconduct. Fish is a perpetrator of the sham litigation scheme that he and other corrupt lawyers and judges use to steal assets from local business owners. I was "suspended" for blowing the whistle on Fish and others.

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    • Aurora Martinez ALBUQUERQUE, NM
      • almost 3 years ago

      I believe that those in a position to uphold the laws that we honor should be held to higher standards of integrity, honesty, and responsibility. That is why we have chosen them to lead us.

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    • Rita Neumann LAS CRUCES, NM
      • almost 3 years ago

      I was a candidate in 2004 and 2006 for State District Judge in the Third Judicial District of NM when others were paying to become incumbents. I challenged the Judicial Selection Commission as being rigged in 2006. Please read my book which is an Expose on the Systematic Political and Social Control of Judges abd the Law. My book website is www.CloseEncountersinNewMexico.net. Rita Nunez Neumann, d/b/a, Neumann Law Office.

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    • Maria-Elena Montoya SANTA FE, NM
      • almost 3 years ago

      Nobody's above the law.

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    • Rebecca Montoya SERAFINA, NM
      • almost 3 years ago

      Judge Abigail Aragon ignores expert psychologist, Guardian ad Litem, and mediation recommendations and grants temporary custody of two nursing infant girls to cop dad. Dad is in violation of the court's order and has not allowed the girls to visit with their mother (for the past 5 months!) Judge denies motion for emergency hearing...Lucreo v Montoya custody case D-412-DM-200900253

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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