New Mexico Supreme Court Decisions 2013

Albuquerque Cab Co. v. NMPRC  
Date: December 30, 2013
Citation: 2014-NMSC-004
Docket Number: 33,704

Justia Opinion Summary: The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) granted Green Cab, LLC d/b/a Green Cab Co., (Green Cab) a certificate of authority to provide taxi service within Bernalillo County and to the rest of the state. Albuquer...

State v. Barney
Date: December 30, 2013
Docket Number: 33,730
de Leon v. Hartley  
Date: December 30, 2013
Citation: 2014-NMSC-005
Docket Number: 34,018

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner filed a motion to quash his indictment, arguing that the district court improperly enlisted the aid of the district attorney’s office in the selection of the grand jury panel that indicted Petitioner. Agreeing...

Bartlett v. Cameron  
Date: December 19, 2013
Citation: 2014-NMSC-002
Docket Number: 34,210

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioners were retired teachers, professors and other public education employees who sought a writ of mandamus against the New Mexico Education Retirement Board (ERB). They sought to compel the ERB to pay them an annua...

Griego v. Oliver  
Date: December 19, 2013
Citation: 2014-NMSC-003
Docket Number: 34,306

Justia Opinion Summary: "Prohibiting same-gender marriages is not substantially related to the governmental interests advanced by the parties opposing same-gender marriage or to the purposes [the New Mexico Supreme Court has] identified. Theref...

State v. Gutierrez
Date: December 2, 2013
Docket Number: 33,354
New Mexico v. Almanzar  
Date: December 2, 2013
Docket Number: 33,763

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue before the Supreme Court in this case centered on whether the phrase "at the scene" in NMSA 1978 Section 31-1-7(A) (1995) authorized law enforcement to make a warrantless arrest for domestic violence where the...

New Mexico v. Sisneros  
Date: November 21, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-049
Docket Number: 33,436

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Christopher Sisneros was convicted in 2011 of first-degree murder, felony murder, shooting from a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily harm, and aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer. Sentenced t...

New Mexico v. Miller  
Date: November 18, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-048
Docket Number: 33,571

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2008, Defendant Andrew Miller faced sixty-one counts consisting mostly of fraud and embezzlement charges between two indictments against him. He entered into a plea agreement with the State covering both indictments,...

State v. Menchaca
Date: November 7, 2013
Docket Number: 33,290
State v. Benavidez
Date: November 7, 2013
Docket Number: 33,480
New Mexico v. Lopez  
Date: October 15, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-047
Docket Number: 33,736

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Aquilino Lopez was stopped for speeding and arrested for driving with a suspended license. While performing a search incident to arrest, the arresting officer discovered a clear bag containing a green leafy sub...

City of Farmington v. Pinon-Garcia  
Date: September 19, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-046
Docket Number: 33,650

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, the district court rejected defendant Juan Pinon-Garcia's request for it to review a municipal court dismissal for an abuse of discretion. Defendant sought dismissal of the case against him because the gove...

New Mexico v. Pangaea Cinema LLC  
Date: September 12, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-044
Docket Number: 33,693

Justia Opinion Summary: On one autumn weekend in 2008, an Albuquerque art-house movie theater hosted a film festival. The festival was titled "Pornotopia," and it featured at least one erotic or pornographic film. Other than Pornotopia, the the...

Encinias v. Whitener Law Firm  
Date: September 12, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-045
Docket Number: 33,874

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Joe Encinias and his parents hired defendants Russell Whitener ad the Whitener Law Firm to represent plaintiff in a possible suit against the Robertson High School and the Las Vegas School District after he was...

State v. Suskiewich
Date: September 12, 2013
Docket Number: 34,187
Baker v. Hedstrom  
Date: September 5, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-043
Docket Number: 33,635

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue before the Supreme Court in this case centered on whether defendant professional corporations and a limited liability company were "health care providers" as defined by the state Medical Malpractice Act so as t...

Date: August 29, 2013
Docket Number: 33,393

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellants, the New Mexico Attorney General and New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers, asked the Supreme Court to vacate and annul the final order in PRC Case No. 11-00308-UT (Case 308 Final Order) because it permitted...

State v. Samora
Date: August 29, 2013
Docket Number: 33,394
Quality Automotive Center, LLC v. Arrieta  
Date: August 29, 2013
Docket Number: 33,659

Justia Opinion Summary: The narrow question in this case was whether a district court judge has the authority to determine whether one of the named parties to a case pending before him or her is entitled to exercise an independent peremptory ex...

New Mexico v. Lopez  
Date: August 29, 2013
Docket Number: 33,736

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was whether the right to personal confrontation of adverse witnesses in criminal prosecutions applies at the pretrial probable cause determination. The Court held that it d...

Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock  
Date: August 22, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-040
Docket Number: 33,687

Justia Opinion Summary: Elane Photography offers wedding photography to the general public, and posts its photographs on a password protected website for its customers. In this case, Elane refused to photograph a commitment ceremony between two...

Convisser v. Ecoversity  
Date: August 15, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-039
Docket Number: 33,362

Justia Opinion Summary: In July 2009, attorney Claude Convisser filed a petition to initiate a Santa Fe County grand jury proceeding. Convisser's petition sought an investigation of a "suspicion of criminal fraud" in connection with the activit...

New Mexico v. Samora  
Date: August 12, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-038
Docket Number: 32,597

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Michael Samora was convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes for the beating death of his girlfriend and a subsequent robbery and stabbing at an Albuquerque convenience store. He argued on appeal to the...

State v. Ramirez
Date: August 12, 2013
Docket Number: 33,193
State v. Daugherty
Date: August 1, 2013
Docket Number: 32,829
Avalos v. NM Counseling
Date: August 1, 2013
Docket Number: 33,579
Bounds v. State ex rel. D'Antonio  
Date: July 25, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-037
Docket Number: 32,713

Justia Opinion Summary: Horace Bounds farmed in the Mimbres basin. Along with the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, Petitioners brought a facial constitutional challenge against the New Mexico Domestic Well Statute (DWS). Petitioners conten...

New Mexico v. Turrietta  
Date: June 28, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-036
Docket Number: 33,057

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Manuel Turrietta argued on appeal to the Supreme Court that his right to a public trial was violated when the district court partially closed the courtroom during the testimony of two confidential informants. U...

New Mexico v. Torrez  
Date: June 27, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-034
Docket Number: 32,929

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Orlando Torrez was convicted of felony murder after a jury rejected his claim of self-defense. Defendant raised several issues on appeal: (1) whether there were double jeopardy violations; (2) whether the trial...

New Mexico v. Serna  
Date: June 27, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-033
Docket Number: 33,021

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted for trafficking an imitation controlled substance (here, baking soda packaged to look like cocaine). The issue on appeal to the Supreme Court had to reconcile the application of the state Imitati...

New Mexico v. Ramos  
Date: June 27, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-031
Docket Number: 33,217

Justia Opinion Summary: A jury convicted Defendant Aaron Ramos of violating a protection order. He appealed, arguing that he was refused a jury instruction that would have required the jury to find that he had “knowingly” violated the protectio...

Strausberg v. Laurel Healthcare Providers  
Date: June 27, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-032
Docket Number: 33,331

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Nina Strausberg signed an arbitration agreement as a mandatory condition of her admission to Defendants' nursing home. Despite having signed the arbitration agreement, Plaintiff sued the home its operators alle...

Nettles v. Ticonderoga Owners' Assn., Inc.  
Date: June 27, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-030
Docket Number: 33,364

Justia Opinion Summary: Leonard and Kay Nettles purchased property and built a home in a remote subdivision in Rio Arriba County known as Ticonderoga. At the time of the Nettles purchase, the lots in Ticonderoga were subject to various covenant...

Palenick v. City of Rio Rancho  
Date: June 27, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-029
Docket Number: 33,380

Justia Opinion Summary: James Palenick was hired by the City of Rio Rancho to serve as City Manager. This appeal stemmed from his termination and whether Palenick was estopped from suing the City for breach of contract based on an alleged viola...

In re Owen
Date: June 27, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-035
Docket Numbers: 33,843, 33,844
In re Ortiz
Date: June 24, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-027
Docket Number: 33,829
State v. Daugherty
Date: June 20, 2013
Docket Number: 32,829
Nunez v. Armstrong DOR
Date: June 13, 2013
Docket Number: 32,868
New Mexico v. Gurule  
Date: June 13, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-025
Docket Number: 33,023

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants Christopher Gurule and Linda Davis were charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor, criminal sexual contact of a minor, kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a minor in 2007. A special agent with the...

State v. Lopez DEC
Date: June 13, 2013
Docket Number: 33,200
New Mexico v. Davis  
Date: June 13, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-028
Docket Number: 33,203

Justia Opinion Summary: In a State Police operation called "Yerba Buena 2006," the state indicted 72-year old Defendant Norman Davis for possessing eight ounces or more of marijuana, and possession of miscellaneous drug paraphernalia. Defendant...

In the Matter of Naranjo  
Date: June 13, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-026
Docket Number: 34,097

Justia Opinion Summary: Respondent Magistrate Judge James Naranjo placed a phone call on behalf of his stepson Albert Hernandez who was a party in a child-support enforcement proceeding assigned to another judge. After Mr. Hernandez was jailed...

State v. Franco
Date: June 10, 2013
Docket Number: 32,605
New Mexico v. Boyse  
Date: June 10, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-024
Docket Number: 33,257

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants Lester and Carol Boyse were charged with fifty-two counts of cruelty to animals. They sought to suppress evidence discovered by investigators because the warrant was approved by a magistrate judge via telephon...

N.M. Taxation & Revenue Dep't. v., LLC  
Date: June 3, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-023
Docket Number: 33,627

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue on appeal before the Supreme Court in this case centered on whether an out-of-state internet retailer, LLC (, which has no physical presence in New Mexico other than through stores own...

Gonzalez v. Performance Painting, Inc.  
Date: May 30, 2013
Docket Number: 32,844

Justia Opinion Summary: Jesus Gonzalez is an undocumented immigrant, coming to this country from Mexico for the first time in 2003 and again in 2005. In early February of 2006, he was hired by Performance Painting, Inc. as a painter's helper. B...

Flemma v. Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.  
Date: May 30, 2013
Docket Number: 33,353

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Halliburton Energy Services hired Plaintiff Edward Flemma to work as a cement equipment operator in Houma, Louisiana, in January of 1982. During his twenty-six years of employment with Halliburton, Flemma was p...

State v. AFSME DOA
Date: May 30, 2013
Docket Number: 33,792
New Mexico v. Montoya  
Date: May 16, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-020
Docket Number: 32,279

Justia Opinion Summary: On the evening of July 15, 2007, Defendant Benjamin Montoya, his girlfriend, his seventeen-year-old brother, and several companions were gathered in the front yard of Defendant's family home. A group of young men in a Ca...

Skidgel v. Hatch
Date: May 13, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-019
Docket Number: 33,182
Skidgel v. Hatch  
Date: May 13, 2013
Docket Number: 33,811

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Clifton Skidgel had been trying for over thirty years to get the attention of the state courts to correct his parole eligibility for the life sentences imposed on him after he pled guilty to four counts of fir...

State v. Casillas
Date: May 9, 2013
Docket Number: 32,911
Statet v. Polson
Date: May 9, 2013
Docket Number: 33,139
Moongate Water Co., Inc. v. City of Las Cruces  
Date: May 9, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-018
Docket Number: 33,182

Justia Opinion Summary: The Public Regulation Commission (PRC) issued Moongate Water Company (Moongate) a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CCN) authorizing Moongate, as a public utility, to provide water to an area located outsi...

Sunnyland Farms, Inc. v. Central N.M. Electric Cooperative, Inc.  
Date: April 18, 2013
Docket Number: 32,968

Justia Opinion Summary: A fire destroyed a hydroponic tomato facility belonging to a new business, Sunnyland Farms, Inc. The day before the fire, Sunnyland's electricity had been shut off by its local utility, the Central New Mexico Electrical...

State v. Gonzalez
Date: April 15, 2013
Docket Number: 33,376
New Mexico v. King  
Date: April 15, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-014
Docket Number: 33,395

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant-Appellee Donovan King was suspected of aggravated battery. In an interrogation room at the Farmington Police Department, a detective advised King of his rights and asked if he understood them. King replied, "Ye...

Schultz v. Pojoaque Tribal Police Department
Date: April 11, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-013
Docket Number: 33,372
Schultz v. Pojoaque Tribal Police Department  
Date: April 11, 2013
Docket Number: 33,

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2002, Pojoaque Tribal Police Officer Kevin Schultz drowned while rescuing a twelve-year-old boy from the Rio Grande near Pilar. On the day of the accident, he had taken the day off from work to chaperone a group of ch...

New Mexico v. Cobrera  
Date: April 8, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-012
Docket Number: 33,375

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Fernanda Cobrera was charged with criminal damage to property having a value greater than $1,000, resulting from her alleged destruction of household goods located in the home of her estranged husband. The ques...

State v. Barela
Date: March 28, 2013
Docket Number: 32,506
New Mexico v. Gonzales  
Date: March 28, 2013
Docket Number: 33,077

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Alicia Gonzales got into her car after a night of heavy drinking and began to drive to the Albuquerque International Sunport to pick up her husband. On the interstate, Defendant, sideswiped one vehicle and plow...

New Mexico v. Collier  
Date: March 25, 2013
Docket Number: 32,915

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Greg Collier was indicted in August 2006 for fourth-degree extreme cruelty to animals after a horse he owned died. A jury acquitted Defendant of felony extreme cruelty to animals but was unable to reach a unani...

Quintana v. Bravo  
Date: March 25, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-011
Docket Number: 33,350

Justia Opinion Summary: Respondents the State of New Mexico and Warden Erasmo Bravo appealed the district court's grant of Petitioner George Quintana's petition for writ of habeas corpus. The district court granted the petition based exclusivel...

State v Dwyer
Date: March 21, 2013
Docket Number: 33,234
In the Matter of Chavez
Date: March 14, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-008
Docket Number: 33,280
In the Matter of Salazar  
Date: March 14, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-007
Docket Number: 33,601

Justia Opinion Summary: The Judicial Standards Commission filed a petition for discipline against Espanola municipal court judge Respondent Stephen S. Salazar. David Vigil, the son of a member of Respondent’s church and an acquaintance, manufac...

State v Macias
Date: March 11, 2013
Docket Number: 33,065
Spencer v. Barber  
Date: February 28, 2013
Docket Number: 33,133

Justia Opinion Summary: Paul Barber and his law firm, Barber & Borg, L.L.C. were the attorneys for Ellen Sam. Barber filed a lawsuit against numerous defendants for injuries Sam sustained when her car was struck from behind on Interstate 40. Ba...

State Farm v. Safeco Ins. Co.  
Date: February 21, 2013
Docket Number: 33,622

Justia Opinion Summary: The questions certified to the Supreme Court by the Court of Appeals pursuant to NMSA 1978, Section 34-5-14(C) (1972), required the Court to determine whether the primary or the secondary underinsured motorist (UIM) insu...

State v. Rauch
Date: February 7, 2013
Docket Number: 32,837
Martinez v. N.M. Dep't of Transp.  
Date: January 31, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-005
Docket Number: 33,083

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2004, Amelia Martinez and Donald Espinoza were driving west on NM 502 toward Los Alamos to buy a car. Amelia, eight and a half months pregnant at the time, was driving and Donald was in the passenger seat. Tragically,...

Horne v. Los Alamos Nat'l Sec., L.L.C.  
Date: January 31, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-004
Docket Number: 33,135

Justia Opinion Summary: This case arose from an employee grievance at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC. After succeeding in arbitration, the employee, John Horne, filed a lawsuit in state dist...

New Mexico v. Navarette  
Date: January 17, 2013
Citation: 2013-NMSC-003
Docket Number: 32,898

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was whether "Crawford v. Washington" (541 U.S. 36 (2004)) and subsequent related case law precluded a forensic pathologist from relating subjective observations recorded in...

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