Mayor Richard Berry’s Albuquerque Rapid Transit project ran into a legal pothole when a state court judge ordered the City Council to – catch this – do its job and give ART opponents a hearing on a procedural, but also substantive, matter regarding the project. In what is a relatively rare legal procedure, Bernalillo County District Judge Victor Lopez issued a Writ of Mandamus to the Council ordering it to obey a city law that requires it to give ART opponents a hearing on the refusal of the city’s Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission to explain why it has refused to explain its decision – or non-decision – in favor or ART. That body has has twice deferred making a decision on a challenge to ART’s design. Under city law, the Landmarks Commission is required to issue findings of fact, or explain why it has deferred a matter. And if the Commission declines to issue those findings of fact, the Council is required to hold a public hearing on the matter.
In what looks like a final decision, attorneys for a former state senator and prosecutors agreed on a judge to preside over the case. Brett Loveless will preside over the high profile case of Phil Griego, who is facing corruption charges related to a real estate deal that ended with his resignation from the state SEnate. The last time we checked in with the case, the Democrat from San Jose pleaded not guilty. This came in front of the eighth judge assigned to the case. Before District Court Judge Sarah Singleton took the case, the previous seven recused themselves.
Quickly after the Second Judicial District Court announced restrictions to journalists covering cases, journalists denounced and mocked the restrictions. The court admitted it was “overbroad” and said that the restrictions were being rewritten. A memo to members of the press titled “Media Access to the Courthouse” laid out the new restrictions and is dated June 2, though journalists received it on Wednesday morning, June 3. The memo acknowledges that “cameras and recording devices are allowed in the courtroom” as long as they abide by a rule set forth by the New Mexico Supreme Court. More from the memo, with quotes from the Supreme Court: In addition, the media coverage must not “detract from the dignity of the court proceedings or otherwise interfere with the achievement of a fair and impartial hearing…”