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.
While most cases of inappropriate financial influence do not involve outright bribery of or by the judiciary, the Brennan Center for Justice has documented that, throughout the United States, state judicial elections have been transformed during the past decade. The story of America’s 2000–2009 high court contests—tens of millions of dollars raised by candidates from parties who may appear before them, millions more poured in by interest groups, nasty and misleading ads, and pressure on judges to signal courtroom rulings on the campaign trail—has become the new "norm." See http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/the_new_politics_of_judicial_elections.
We ask that you take immediate and appropriate executive and legislative action to bring a halt to these practices and to return control of the election of judges to the people, where it belongs.