Monday, July 14, 2014

Carlos F Pacheco Meet and Greet

Carlos F. Pacheco
On a hot Sunday afternoon in mid-July the campaigns for judicial seats are beginning to heat up as candidates attend parties to introduce themselves to the voters and Bernalillo County Central Committee members. Some of the candidates have already won places on the ballot during the party primary and other will be voted on by county central committee members come August 16th.   

Mr. Pacheco is running for a position on New Mexico’s only Metropolitan Court here in Bernalillo County. I spoke with him about why he wants to be a judge. He expressed the view that he could bring a great deal to the court system by helping to support and develop alternative methods of sentencing.

The old way of just putting people behind bars and not reaching out to the community for support systems is not working in our city any longer. People are being shot by the police because they are out of control and the police are not equipped to handle their issues in a life or dead situation on our city streets. Community and court linked programs like Homeless Court and Healing to Wellness Court are just two ways to assist people in reducing the repeat behaviors that end in a tragic situation.

Other Judicial Candidates

Josh Boone, Nancy Franchini, Marie Ward, Erika Anderson
At Mr. Pacheco afternoon party, I was also able to speak with many other judicial candidates.

New Ideas for how to get judges to interact with the public

I also spoke with Terri Holland who is Ward Chairperson of Ward 19C in Albuquerque. The idea that developed is to encourage judges of both District and Metro Court to get out more and interact with the public. Since judges are not allowed to take part in political activities unless they are running for election, a new method of getting them out has to be developed. The answer lies with the funding that the state provides to judges for speaking.

The suggestion was made and I was encouraged to promote to all the judges in the county and statewide the idea of using non-partisan community organizations such as our neighbor associations to create educational programs that would help the public better understand the court system. Judges could be asked to give lectures or questions and answer courses at the neighbor association meetings during the summer months.  While judges are not allowed to speak to how they would rule on a particular case that does not stop them from explaining the system to the public. It does not stop them from promoting different programs within the court to the public either.

This would allow dialog between judges and the communities so that the public does not feel isolated from their legal system. This could also build a dialog between judges and the community that could develop new ideas to reduce crime in the first place. The issues facing Albuquerque has been developing over the years due to the issues with the Albuquerque Police Department and communication is a key method to solving the problems. Judges set the example and lead the legal community when it comes to how the public is treated.

The voting public should reach out to those individuals and develop a method to bring them out from behind the walls of justice and reintroduce them to the people they serve. Over the past few years the New Mexico State Supreme Court has created rules that reduce the interaction between the public and the judiciary. These rules have caused more harm than was ever foreseen. But we must work with the current rules until people who are more open to interaction between the legal system and the public are elected to those seats.