On December 14, the Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus ordering the recusal of a Superior Court judge. The Court ordered that Judge Joseph N. Camacho must recuse himself from presiding over a case involving two employees of the Superior Court.
This opinion vacates the lower court’s denial of a motion to disqualify all judges of the Superior Court. Abraczinskas argued that all Superior Court judges should recuse themselves because the case involves two court employees. The Court held that even though a motion to disqualify all five judges is overbroad, Judge Camacho, at least, must recuse himself due to the appearance of impropriety that comes from a judge of the Superior Court presiding over a case with these unique facts. The Commonwealth Code requires that a judge recuse when a reasonable person would find that the judge’s continued presence over the case would create the appearance of impropriety.
The Supreme Court emphasized the extraordinary and unique circumstances of the case. Though judges may typically decide on their own recusal, the Court found that this issue presents “new and important problems,” justifying this extraordinary type of relief.
The Court has ordered that the case be reassigned to a new judge.
This press release constitutes no part of the decision of the Court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the public. The full opinion can be read here: https://cnmilaw.org/spm23.php#gsc.tab=0. For further information, contact the Supreme Court at Supreme.Court@NMIJudiciary.gov.