Disbarred judge refuses to resign

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A disbarred New Mexico municipal court judge is resisting calls to resign.

Corrales Municipal Judge Luis Quintana contends that his disbarment is unrelated to his duties as a judge, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Quintana was disbarred July 1 for failing to turn over a $4,500 settlement check to a client in a workers’ compensation case, according to state Disciplinary Board records. A hearing committee found that Quintana used the money to pay debts owed to other clients.

Because Quintana is an elected official, the village council has no authority to remove him from the bench. But village councilor and former Mayor Phil Gasteyer said he plans to ask for Quintana’s resignation.

“People like myself who are lawyers or retired lawyers are quite alarmed, not only that it happened, but that it’s taken several months for it to become public knowledge, and he’s continued to serve in the interim,” Gasteyer said.

But Quintana told the Albuquerque Journal he has no intention of resigning. He said the incident that led to his disbarment occurred before he was elected to the bench and has nothing to do with his abilities as a judge.

“Are people going to be disappointed? Sure, I’m disappointed too,” he said. “I’m disappointed because I didn’t serve [this client] as great as I should have, you know. But that was one instance in 30 years.”

Hat tip to Above the Law.

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