Letter To The Editor: Why I’m Voting For Elizabeth Allen For Municipal Court Judge

By KAREN HOLMES, Esq.
Los Alamos

As an attorney here in Los Alamos, I have known Elizabeth Allen professionally for several years. With both of us operating small solo law firms, I have had the privilege to know her as a colleague and friend. This gives me a unique perspective to offer the community regarding her bid for municipal judge.

Right now there are only two counties in all of New Mexico that require a local court judge to hold a law degree. Los Alamos county is NOT one of them. Our county, which regularly prides itself on the number of PhD’s, AP classes, awards, and caliber of education we have in town, does not have even one local judge who has gone to law school. And, it’s been that way for more than 20 years. In New Mexico, there is no requirement anywhere that a municipal judge be an attorney.

Elizabeth’s education, however, is not the primary reason she should be elected, but it is an important one. Voting an attorney into our local judicial office will raise the standard and quality of the judiciary for decades. A county with our emphasis on higher education and intellectual prowess should not settle for having significant matters in our lives be determined by someone who has fewer qualifications to be judge than we do.

A vote for Elizabeth Allen will be a vote that will echo throughout Los Alamos county’s history. There is a good chance that it will change the tenor of the local judiciary – and the expectations of the community – so that it will no longer be acceptable to call someone Judge if they do not actually have a J.D.

In a time when it is vitally important to preserve an impartial judicial system and hold our judges to the highest standard, it only makes sense to elect someone who has dedicated their time, energy, education, and profession to studying and upholding the laws of this land.

Elizabeth not only has the appropriate qualifications to be a judge, but she has proven her commitment to the betterment of this county. She is actively striving to improve multiple facets of Los Alamos life – she has served on various non-profit boards of directors, volunteers at her church, teaches law classes at UNMLA and offers her time and talent to our schools, local musical groups, and even LANL (by accepting the ARAG insurance). She is determined to contribute to the high quality of life Los Alamos residents anticipate and expect.

Elizabeth’s character and her passion for maintaining the highest ethical standards will make her an excellent judge. As an attorney who has sat on both the prosecution and defense sides of the courtroom, she has the ability to understand issues from all angles. And – she has practiced in front of dozens of judges.

She has experienced firsthand the frustration and sense of injustice when a judge fails to apply the law correctly or makes a determination influenced by personal morals (or mood) instead of the law. Having lived and practiced in another state, Elizabeth will provide a refreshingly new perspective on the problems within New Mexico courts and can use her experiences with other programs and systems to suggest new solutions for our community.

It may seem silly to advocate so strongly for a judicial position that only oversees violations of the county code, DWI’s, and traffic cases. But, considering that these matters are the ones most likely for you and I – the average resident – to encounter, don’t you want these issues decided by a judge who has the legal education, big-picture experience, and ethical foundation to make a lawful determination of the facts?

A vote for Elizabeth Allen declares that the citizens of Los Alamos County want to establish the highest standards for all areas of our government. It’s time to put the J.D. back in the judiciary and set the example for the rest of New Mexico.

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