2019 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 34 - Court Structure and Administration
Article 5 - Court of Appeals
Section 34-5-14 - Supreme court; appellate jurisdiction; review by certiorari to court of appeals; certification of cases to supreme court.
A. The appellate jurisdiction of the supreme court is coextensive with the state and extends to all cases where appellate jurisdiction is not specifically vested by law in the court of appeals.
B. In addition to its original appellate jurisdiction, the supreme court has jurisdiction to review by writ of certiorari to the court of appeals any civil or criminal matter in which the decision of the court of appeals:
(1) is in conflict with a decision of the supreme court;
(2) is in conflict with a decision of the court of appeals;
(3) involves a significant question of law under the constitution of New Mexico or the United States; or
(4) involves an issue of substantial public interest that should be determined by the supreme court.
Application to the supreme court for writ of certiorari to the court of appeals shall be filed with the clerk of the supreme court within twenty days after final action by the court of appeals. A copy of the application shall be filed by the clerk of the supreme court with the clerk of the court of appeals and the clerk of the court of appeals shall forthwith transmit the record in the case to the clerk of the supreme court. Upon filing of the application, the judgment and mandate of the court of appeals shall be stayed pending final action of the supreme court. No further briefs or oral argument in support of an application for writ of certiorari shall be filed or had in the supreme court unless so directed by the supreme court. If an application has not been acted upon within thirty days, it shall be deemed denied.
C. The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction in matters appealed to the court of appeals, but undecided by that court, if the court of appeals certifies to the supreme court that the matter involves:
(1) a significant question of law under the constitution of New Mexico or the United States; or
(2) an issue of substantial public interest that should be determined by the supreme court.
Any certification by the court of appeals under this subsection is a final determination of appellate jurisdiction.
D. The jurisdiction of the supreme court over the decisions of the court of appeals and over actions certified to it by the court of appeals is in addition to the jurisdiction of the supreme court in the issuance and determination of original writs directed to the court of appeals.
History: 1953 Comp., § 16-7-14, enacted by Laws 1966, ch. 28, § 14; 1972, ch. 71, § 1.ANNOTATIONS
Cross references. — For Uniform Certification of Questions of Law Act, see 39-7-1 NMSA 1978.
For appellate jurisdiction of supreme court, see N.M. Const., art. VI, § 2 and 39-3-2, 39-3-3, 39-3-4 NMSA 1978.
For appellate jurisdiction of court of appeals, see N.M. Const., art. VI, § 29 and 34-5-8 NMSA 1978.
For procedure on certiorari to review decision of court of appeals, see 12-502 NMRA.
For procedure on certification from court of appeals, see 12-606 NMRA.
Significant question of constitutional law. — Where defendant alleged in his petition for a writ of certiorari that the state violated his rights as provided under the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United State Constitution, and Article II, Section 14 of the New Mexico Constitution, the state supreme court had jurisdiction to review defendant's case by writ of certiorari because it involves a significant question of law under the constitution of New Mexico or the United States. State v. Urban, 2004-NMSC-007, 135 N.M. 279, 87 P.3d 1061.
Establishing propriety of writ. — Neither Rule 12-502 NMRA nor this section would require a defendant to establish the propriety of the writ of certiorari in his brief in chief. State v. Urban, 2004-NMSC-007, 135 N.M. 279, 87 P.3d 1061.
Supreme court has appellate jurisdiction not given court of appeals. — The appellate jurisdiction of the supreme court "extends to all cases where appellate jurisdiction is not specifically vested by law in the court of appeals." State v. Weddle, 1967-NMSC-028, 77 N.M. 420, 423 P.2d 611.
Direct appeal to supreme court. — Appellants' claim in prohibition proceedings that a nonattorney police court judge was not constitutionally qualified to hear their criminal cases arising from violations of municipal ordinances was properly taken directly from the district court to the supreme court; the appeal did not fall within the ambit of 16-7-8 NMSA 1978 (now Section 34-5-8 NMSA 1978). Tsiosdia v. Rainaldi, 1976-NMSC-011, 89 N.M. 70, 547 P.2d 553.
Only supreme court may reverse its own precedent. — Implicit in this section is the concept that the court of appeals is to be governed by the precedents of the supreme court, and although the supreme court, by abolishing the defense of unavoidable accident in negligence actions, affirmed the decision of the court of appeals, which had taken that same action, the supreme court made clear that it, not the court of appeals, had authority to reverse its own precedent. Alexander v. Delgado, 1973-NMSC-030, 84 N.M. 717, 507 P.2d 778.
Appeals and writs of error are in no sense to be compared to certiorari, and the presence of the right to appeal makes inappropriate and unavailable the right to certiorari. Roberson v. Board of Educ., 1967-NMSC-176, 78 N.M. 297, 430 P.2d 868.
Limitation on right of appeal does not extend to certiorari. — There is no reason to assume that the legislature, in limiting the state's right to appeal in a criminal case, intended a like limitation in the granting of a writ of certiorari. On the contrary, this section indicates that these remedies are to be considered separately. State v. Gunzelman, 1973-NMSC-055, 85 N.M. 295, 512 P.2d 55, overruled on other grounds by State v. Orosco, 1992-NMSC-006, 113 N.M. 780, 833 P.2d 1146.
Certiorari may be issued in criminal cases. — The supreme court has the authority to issue writs of certiorari directed to the court of appeals in a criminal case where the conditions of this section are met, and the court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, as provided for in N.M. Const., art. VI, § 3, leaves no doubt as to the power of the court to issue such writs. State v. Gunzelman, 1973-NMSC-055, 85 N.M. 295, 512 P.2d 55, overruled on other grounds by State v. Orosco, 1992-NMSC-006, 113 N.M. 780, 833 P.2d 1146.
Claim of prosecutorial misconduct. — The supreme court had jurisdiction by writ of certiorari to review defendant's claim he was denied a fair trial because of prosecutorial misconduct. State v. Ashley, 1997-NMSC-049, 124 N.M. 1, 946 P.2d 205.
State may seek writ of certiorari. — Although the reason for granting the writ of certiorari petitioned for by the state is based upon this section, it should be noted that N.M. Const., art. VI, § 3, in addition to the authority of N.M. Const., art. VI, § 2, and this section, states that this court "shall have a superintending control over all inferior courts; it shall also have power to issue writs of . . . certiorari . . . and all other writs necessary or proper for the complete exercise of its jurisdiction and to hear and determine the same." State v. Gunzelman, 1973-NMSC-055, 85 N.M. 295, 512 P.2d 55, overruled on other grounds by State v. Orosco, 1992-NMSC-006, 113 N.M. 780, 833 P.2d 1146.
Rulings held not to raise issues of substantial public interest. — Rulings of the court of appeals concerning statements by district attorney in closing argument held not to raise issues of substantial public interest which should be determined by the supreme court under Paragraph B(4). Deats v. State, 1969-NMSC-029, 80 N.M. 77, 451 P.2d 981.
Denial of certiorari not affirmance or precedent. — The denial of a petition for writ of certiorari by the court of last resort to review a decision of a court of intermediate appeal is not regarded as an affirmance of such decision which raises it to the dignity of final authority. The denial cannot be utilized as precedent or authority for or against the propositions urged or defended in such proceedings, nor can it be urged as approval of the rule announced in the court of intermediate appeal. State v. Cutnose, 1975-NMCA-021, 87 N.M. 300, 532 P.2d 889, overruled on other grounds by State v. McCormack, 1984-NMSC-006, 100 N.M. 657, 674 P.2d 1117.
Writ of certiorari not properly granted. — Jurisdiction by writ of certiorari was not appropriate since the issue in the case only involved a difference of opinion between the district court and the court of appeals and none of the conditions in Subsection B of this section were present. State v. Conn, 1993-NMSC-004, 115 N.M. 99, 847 P.2d 744.
Applicability of Subsection C. — Subsection C extends to "matters appealed to the court of appeals, but undecided by that court," if the court makes the requisite certification. The word "matter" means the entire case in which the appeal is taken. Collins ex rel. Collins v. Tabet, 1991-NMSC-013, 111 N.M. 391, 806 P.2d 40.
Cases certified where two court of appeals judges concurred but on different grounds. — Where there are three separate opinions of the court of appeals, the first of which would affirm the conviction of defendant on all counts, the second and third of which would reverse and remand for a new trial on two different issues, and it appears that the three proposed opinions, if filed as opinions of the court of appeals, would create uncertainty in the law in that, although there is a majority for reversal, there is no guidance for the future procedure of the case, and it further appears that the court of appeals may not call in additional judges, and, because an uncertain state of law should not exist and because of this fact an issue of substantial public interest is created and should be determined by the supreme court, the case is properly certified to the New Mexico supreme court for decision. State v. Tijerina, 1972-NMCA-169, 84 N.M. 432, 504 P.2d 642; State v. Tijerina, 1973-NMSC-105, 86 N.M. 31, 519 P.2d 127, cert. denied, 417 U.S. 956, 94 S. Ct. 3085, 41 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1974).
Instructions on intent in criminal cases. — The matter of instructions concerning the requisite intent in criminal cases is one of substantial public interest that should be decided by the New Mexico supreme court. State v. Boyer, 1973-NMCA-047, 84 N.M. 759, 508 P.2d 29; State v. Vickery, 1973-NMCA-046, 84 N.M. 758, 508 P.2d 28; State v. Fuentes, 1973-NMCA-045, 84 N.M. 757, 508 P.2d 27; State v. Puga, 1973-NMCA-044, 84 N.M. 756, 508 P.2d 26.
Interlocutory appeal granted to consider contributory negligence doctrine. — The supreme court granted an interlocutory appeal from the court of appeals pursuant to this section to determine the current validity of contributory negligence in New Mexico law. Syroid v. Albuquerque Gravel Prods. Co., 1974-NMSC-039, 86 N.M. 235, 522 P.2d 570.
Delay alone insufficient ground for certification. — Delay by the court of appeals in deciding an appeal of a decision holding a statutory act unconstitutional was an insufficient ground for certification to the supreme court, where the delay occurred because primary consideration was given to priority cases and there was no showing that the assigned panel lacked authority to decide the issue, was unable to decide it, or felt it should not decide the issue because it was before the supreme court in other cases. Deer Mesa Corp. v. Los Tres Valles Special Zoning Dist. Comm'n, 1985-NMCA-114, 103 N.M. 675, 712 P.2d 21.
Minimum procedural requirements must be met. — Even where applications or petitions are required by statute which also provides for liberal interpretation, certain minimum requirements must be met. Roberson v. Board of Educ., 1967-NMSC-176, 78 N.M. 297, 430 P.2d 868.
Court of appeals cannot review extensions of time after certification. — The court of appeals is without authority to review supreme court orders granting extensions of time to commence trial, where defendant's cause, challenging the validity of the supreme court's ex parte order granting the state an extension of time in which to try defendant, was certified to that court. State v. Carter, 1974-NMCA-141, 87 N.M. 41, 528 P.2d 1281.
Substantial public interest. — The certified question of whether New Mexico should adopt the rule adopted in Arizona that, as a matter of law and public policy, the attractive nuisance doctrine should not be extended to flumes and irrigation ditches is an issue of substantial public interest. Carmona v. Hagerman Irrigation Co., 1998-NMSC-007, 125 N.M. 59, 957 P.2d 44.
The application of the venue provisions of 38-3-1 NMSA 1978 to a national banking association presented an issue of "substantial public interest" so as to justify certification under Subsection C(2). Sunwest Bank v. Nelson, 1998-NMSC-012, 125 N.M. 170, 958 P.2d 740.
Supreme court had jurisdiction to hear appeal from the court of appeals' denial of municipal judge's Writ of Superintendent Control brought against a presiding judge who voided his DWI sentences; the question was one of "substantial public interest" and, therefore, properly before the supreme court under this section. Sims v. Ryan, 1998-NMSC-019, 125 N.M. 357, 961 P.2d 782.
Law reviews. — For article, "Approaching Statutory Interpretation in New Mexico," see 8 Nat. Resources J. 689 (1968).
For article, "Survey of New Mexico Law, 1982-83: Civil Procedure," see 14 N.M.L. Rev. 17 (1984).
For article, "Separation of Powers and the Judicial Rule-Making Power in New Mexico: The Need for Prudential Restraints," see 15 N.M.L. Rev. 407 (1985).
For article, "Jurisdiction As May Be Provided by Law: Some Issues of Appellate Jurisdiction in New Mexico," see 36 N.M.L. Rev. 215 (2006).