Legal Ethics

NM Judge Suspended re No-Rent Housing

A New Mexico judge who lived rent-free for almost two years in government-owned low-income housing has been disciplined.

Bernalillo County Metropolitan Judge Theresa Gomez, who earns about $103,000 annually, has been suspended without pay for two weeks by the New Mexico Supreme Court, the Associated Press reports today. She will also pay $17,000 in back rent and be reprimanded, under a plea deal approved by the court this week.

The court reportedly rejected an earlier recommendation by the state Judicial Standards Commission that Gomez simply be reprimanded.

“Gomez has said she dismissed two traffic citations and canceled a related arrest warrant for Vincent Gallegos, who was head of the housing agency at the time,” the Associated Press says in an earlier story.

The judge’s lawyer, Robert Desiderio, told the supreme court that her conduct demonstrated “at most, an error of judgment,” the AP reports in today’s story. Desiderio also said, as the news agency puts it, that Gomez “never intended to use her office for her own benefit.”

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