Republican household lawyer challenges Democratic appeals decide | Elections

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Republican family lawyer challenges Democratic appeals judge | Elections

Candidates: Thomas C. Montoya, R. and Jane B. Yohalem, D.

Overview: Montoya and Yohalem are competing for one of three open positions in the 10-person appellate court, which examines appeals from lower court cases, with the exception of cases involving life sentences. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Yohalem to court in June to fill a position vacated by the resignation of Judge Linda Vanzi. She must be elected to the post in order to stay in the bank.

Appeals court judges receive approximately $ 140,000 per year.

Key question: Montoya had to file a lawsuit to take part in the vote after the foreign minister said he had not submitted a required form. A district judge ruled in Montoya's favor, saying confusion from the coronavirus pandemic and other measures he had taken to justify him as a candidate. Yohalem tried to appeal this judgment. She said in a recent interview that she did this to make a clear decision on the matter.

What you say: Yohalem says that her extensive experience handling appeals in a variety of cases makes her a better candidate than her opponent, who she believes has a narrower area of ​​expertise. She also highlighted her writing skills, saying her goal has always been to write simply and clearly "so that my clients should be able to read and understand a legal mandate".

Montoya said he had more experience in family law and domestic relations than his opponent. He also said he would use his tireless work ethic to ensure that appeals progress in a timely manner so that the court does not become the "court of last resort" for litigants who need life-affecting decisions that are quickly reviewed.

Bottom line: According to the New Mexico Secretary of State's website, Yohalem had raised $ 140,303 on October 16. She was the largest contributor to their campaign, borrowing $ 5,500. She also received $ 5,000 from the Individual Responsibility Committee, according to the website. Yohalem had spent $ 21,282, including around $ 13,000 on campaign consultants. Montoya runs its campaign with public campaign funding and had spent approximately $ 169,056 on Oct. 16, of which approximately $ 63,000 was used on advertising.

REPUBLICAN

Thomas Montoya

Education: Attended Stanford University in 1970-1974 and entered law school before graduation. Law degree from the University of Southern California.

Relevant experience: Attorney and shareholder at Atkinson & Kelsey, P.A. Has worked in divorce and family law for over 38 years. I have had an outstanding rating from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings for over 25 years. Member of the American Law Institute for 21 years. Co-chaired the Child Support Policy Committee responsible for publicizing New Mexico legal guidelines for child support. Chairman of the Domestic Relations Subcommittee of the Supreme Court's Code of Civil Procedure Committee. I have lobbied and testified about legislative provisions on family law over 30 times, and I've also drafted laws on family law. I have served as an appeals advisor on 12 reported cases, my work has been named as an authority on three appeals court cases, and I have faced over 60 family law seminars. I was selected three times by the Nominations Committee of the Second Judicial District Judicial Selection as a qualified judge in the district court.

Have you ever been charged or convicted of a crime, including drunk driving? No.

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or were you personally or commercially involved in bankruptcy proceedings? No.

Have you ever been the subject of liens on unpaid taxes? No.

1. The pandemic rules have significantly reduced the number of people who can watch legal proceedings. There is video overflow, but these seats are also limited and often have audio or other issues. Technological issues have also been encountered during hearings and viewers must have a computer or telephone to watch them. Do you think these agreements meet the requirement that the trial be public? Why or why not?

Obviously, the pandemic has drastically affected our entire lives and the judiciary is no exception. However, essential rights, including the right to be heard and a judicial officer to resolve disputes, cannot be suspended, if at all. I strongly support the public's right to know and participate in legal proceedings. The judiciary responded adequately to the challenges by keeping the courts open to litigation and the public in the temporary circumstances.

2. The Supreme Court recently announced the creation of a commission to investigate issues related to race and bias in the state's judicial system. Do you think the court as a whole is effective in dealing with racial and gender bias? Why or why not?

In over 38 years of litigation, I have held over a thousand hearings, including trials, in our courts. In all this time I have never seen anything to do with racist prejudice in the state's judicial system. If so, I would have reported such discrimination. New Mexico has a great advantage over other states in that many cultures have historically been fused together rather than distinguishing and separating our differences.

3. Are you afraid of getting COVID-19 in your workplace? Why or why not?

No. Our office has carefully followed all protocols, including teleworking and telephone and video business. We measure temperatures, wear masks, wash and disinfect frequently and keep our distance. The courts have helped tremendously in the pandemic by launching video hearings that work to the great advantage of lawyers and litigants by restricting travel to the various courts in the fifth largest state in the country. Fortunately, the company and family stay safe.

4th What makes you different from your opponent?

As a trial lawyer for 38 years, I am very familiar with the rules of procedure and evidence that regulate our courts. The modern practice of internal relationships offers a unique, objective perspective, since in both cases we often advocate both sides of the issue. I was involved in creating over 30 laws in our legislature, as well as national procedural rules in family law cases that affect the lives of most New Mexicans.

DEMOCRAT

Jane Yohalem

Occupation: New Mexico Appeals Court Judge, Position 3

Education: B.A. Yale University (1972); J.D. Columbia Law School (1975); LL.M. Georgetown Law Center (1976)

Relevant experience: I've been a vocational specialist in New Mexico for more than 30 years. I've represented people in every corner of New Mexico and in almost every area of ​​the law. My career began as a civil rights attorney representing children with disabilities. I was a part-time special education hearing officer in New Mexico for 26 years. I have represented families in need in ending parental rights cases for many years. I have served as an attorney on over 400 appeal cases, more than 100 of which were published to promote New Mexico law.

Have you ever been charged or convicted of a crime, including drunk driving? No.

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or were you personally or commercially involved in bankruptcy proceedings? No.

Have you ever been the subject of liens on unpaid taxes? No.

1. The pandemic rules have significantly reduced the number of people who can watch legal proceedings. There is video overflow, but these seats are also limited and often have audio or other issues. Technological issues have also been encountered during hearings and viewers must have a computer or telephone to watch them. Do you think these agreements meet the requirement that the trial be public? Why or why not?

The judges must remain neutral on issues that may lie before them and cannot give an opinion on such issues. This is a question that could well be put before the appeals court. As a seated judge, I would need to listen to the evidence, understand exactly what happened in the case before me, and then make a decision. The standards of judicial ethics protect people's right to be heard by an impartial judge.

2. The Supreme Court recently announced the creation of a commission to investigate issues related to race and bias in the state's judicial system. Do you think the court as a whole is effective in dealing with racial and gender bias? Why or why not?

Our courts play a positive role in protecting minorities and ensuring equal access to justice for all New Mexicans, and they can do more. I would like our courts to take a leadership role in the Commission and investigate practices in all parts of the judicial system. The courts are in a unique position to oversee the work of law enforcement agencies and make the necessary changes.

3. Are you afraid of getting COVID-19 in your workplace? Why or why not?

I follow the governor's recommendations and work from home when I can. I feel comfortable being in the courthouse because the courts have put careful protective measures and requirements in place for masks and social distancing in place since the pandemic began.

4th What makes you different from your opponent?

I bring a commitment to court to serve the people of New Mexico, an extensive knowledge and experience in virtually all aspects of New Mexico law, the ability to write clearly and concisely on legal matters, and an in-depth understanding of the appeal process. For more than 30 years I have represented unions, workers, consumers, injured claimants, parents in need, children with disabilities and others who work to protect their rights.