Court Keeps Non-Lawyer Off Ballot As Magistrate

Apr 13, 2012

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Supreme Court won't allow a Las Cruces man to run for magistrate judge in Dona Ana County because is not a lawyer.

Democrat Paul Martinez had asked the court to restore him to the June primary election ballot. Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins disqualified Martinez and another Democrat as candidates because state law requires magistrates to be lawyers in counties with a population of more than 200,000.

The Supreme Court, without explanation, turned down Martinez's request in a brief order issued on Tuesday. He also wanted the court to overturn the governor's veto of a bill last year that would have allowed non-lawyers to serve as magistrates in counties up to 250,000.

Dona Ana County's population reached 209,000 in 2010, up from about 175,000 a decade ago.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.