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Administrative Office of the Courts Director Artie Pepin will appear before the state Board of Finance Thursday to request emergency funding of $750,000 for operations of magistrate courts through June.
In April, the governor vetoed a $750,000 supplemental appropriation approved by the Legislature to address underfunding partly caused by a loss of revenues from vetoes in 2014.
Without the requested $750,000 emergency grant, according to Pepin, the AOC will not pay leases on court buildings for June and state insurance premiums. Those steps will ensure there’s enough money for core functions of magistrate courts during the final weeks of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
There are 48 magistrate courts across New Mexico, and they resolved about 178,000 cases last year. Magistrate courts have limited jurisdiction and handle DWI cases, misdemeanors, traffic violations, civil actions up to $10,000 and hold preliminary hearings to determine probable cause on felony charges.