Martinez Supreme Court Appointee Violates Judicial Conduct Rules

Nakamura Inappropriately Solicited Donors, Joins Long List of Martinez Cronies Who Don’t Follow Rules

Chairwoman Debra Haaland, on behalf of The Democratic Party of New Mexico, on Friday filed a complaint against Gov. Susana Martinez’s hand-picked New Mexico Supreme Court Justice, Judy Nakamura, who sent out a personal fundraising solicitation in January—in direct violation of the New Mexico Code of Judicial Conduct—making her the latest of the governor’s cronies to try to get away with breaking the rules.

Party officials cited in their complaint a January 13 email sent by the New Mexico Republican Party that contained a “message from Judge (sic) Judy Nakamura.” That message, signed with Nakamura’s name, directly solicited contributions to the justice’s campaign.

Rule 21-404 of the Code clearly states that: “Candidates shall not personally solicit…contributions for their own campaigns.”

“The rules are clear,” said Joe Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director. “Judicial candidates, like Judy Nakamura, cannot personally solicit donations. Period. Justice Nakamura, handpicked by Gov. Susana Martinez to serve on the New Mexico Supreme Court, is not following the rules. New Mexicans deserve leaders—especially judges and justices—who not only uphold the rules, but follow them as well.”

Kabourek further said that Nakamura’s actions were the latest in a string of Martinez allies and appointees—as well as Martinez herself—who were caught breaking the rules.

“Gov. Martinez and her cronies think they are above the law,” Kabourek said. “They are not. From bullying law enforcement officers, as the governor did, to stealing money from campaign coffers, as her Secretary of State did, there is a clear pattern. Martinez and her cronies think they don’t have to follow the rules.”

Holding public servants accountable for their actions, regardless of who they are, is the only way to address these problems and ensure the public can trust their leaders, Kabourek said.

“It doesn’t matter in New Mexico if you are the Secretary of State or a justice on the Supreme Court,” Kabourek said. “The law is the law and the rules are the rules. No one is above the law. No one should be allowed to violate public trust.”

According to Rule 21-406, the complaint, which was filed with the Judicial Standards Commission via U.S. mail, must be heard within 10 days of being filed.