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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77417 Find in a Library
Title: New Mexico State Courts
Author(s): R J Thomas
Corporate Author: New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts
United States of America
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 37
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts
Santa Fe, NM 87501
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This booklet describes New Mexico's court system, emphasizing how the system works to protect the rights of its citizens.
Abstract: The court system is designed to settle disputes which arise between people who live in a complex society. Courts in New Mexico's system include the State supreme court, the court of appeals, district courts, probate courts, small claims court, municipal courts, and magistrate courts. Magistrate court is the State court of limited jurisdiction. The majority of cases are handled in these courts. The State's highest court, the supreme court, has existed since 1851. The district court is the State court of general jurisdiction. It is authorized to hear and determine all the civil and criminal cases which are not specifically exempted from its jurisdiction. Judges of the district court are elected for 6-year terms. There are 13 judicial districts in New Mexico, and each county has a district court. Civil cases heard in district courts are usually brought either for a breach of contract or for a tort action. Criminal charges are instituted through a complaint filed in magistrate court, through an indictment, or through the filing of an information in district court by the prosecuting attorney. While there are some differences in trial procedures between civil and criminal cases, the basic pattern in the district court with regard to jury processes is the same. The State court of appeals handles most of the criminal appeals, appeals from some State agency decisions, tort claims, workmen's compensation appeals, and appeals of probate matters. The supreme court may review decisions of the court of appeals as well as the decisions of the district court. A glossary of legal terms and an organizational chart are provided.
Index Term(s): Appellate courts; Court system; New Mexico; State courts; State supreme courts; Trial courts
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