Chief Justice of the NM Supreme Court Charles Daniels

Air Dates: January 21-23, 2017

This Week: CHARLES DANIELS,Chief Justice of the N.M. Supreme Court

Topics:· The Current Underfunding of the Judiciary· The Possibility of an Upcoming Constitutional Crisis

Quote:“I feel like I am presiding over the dismantling of the justice system.”-- Chief Justice Daniels

January 19, 2017 -- This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Charles Daniels, Chief Justice of the NM Supreme Court,discussing the current underfunding of the judiciary and the possibility of an upcoming Constitutional crisis.

Fresh off of his brilliant Thursday (1/19) presentation on the State of the Judiciary to a Joint Session of the NM House of Representative and the NM Senate, Chief Justice Daniels describes the state of crisis the New Mexico judicial system faces due to the underfunding of its Constitutional mandates.

He explains the mismatch between the obligations for the justice system set forth in the Constitution, and the inadequate resources we have to meet those obligations. Daniels points out that we cannot “partially” fund justice, that “partial justice is INJUSTICE!”

“I feel like I am presiding over the dismantling of the justice system,” Chief Justice Daniels laments. Due to underfunding, juror payments are being reduced, and will run out in March of this year. The right to a jury trial is mandated in the Constitution, but the Chief points out we don’t have enough funding to provide juries for the rest of this fiscal year and we “can't afford to provide justice because of funding cuts.”

Daniels adds that there is not enough money for Public Defenders, and the important treatment courts like drug courts and mental health courts are being cut due to lack of funding.

The Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial in a criminal case – it’s clearly laid out in the Constitution – and the Chief Justice points out that public safety is at risk because the Supreme Court has stated that if the state doesn’t provide a speedy trial, the courts must dismiss the criminal prosecution. He reminds us that ”justice delayed is justice denied.”