On Friday, June 26, the publisher of this blog received the following text message from one of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s aides:
“Friday, June 26, 11:22 am
“Hello Pete, thanks for sharing this. (blog article) Pat Davis is no longer on a Judicial Selection Commission. He was part of a commission, for a court of appeals vacancy I believe, but this is a one- off process.”
Daniel Schlegal, Governor’s Aide
On June 27, it was reported that New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Judith Nakamura announced that she will not be retiring on August 1 as she originally announced and she plans on retiring some time at the end of the year.
The post script to the blog article explains the New Mexico Nominating Commission and how it works. “When a judicial vacancy occurs, the appropriate nominating commission recommends qualified candidates to the governor, and the governor makes an appointment. There are fifteen judicial nominating commissions that screen applicants for vacancies on New Mexico courts and recommend qualified candidates to the governor: the appellate judges nominating commission for the supreme court and court of appeals; a district court judges nominating committee for each of the state’s thirteen judicial districts; and a metropolitan court judges nominating committee for the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court”. The Court of Appeals Nominating Commission is for both appellate courts: the court of appeals and the supreme court.
Davis was appointed to “The Court of Appeals Judicial Selection Commission” and listed on the June 29 announcement and therefor the appointment was to fill both the vacancies of retiring Judges Court of Appeals Judge Linda Vanzi and New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Judith Nakamura.
Now that Justice Nakamura is no longer retiring, the Court of Appeals Commission no longer needs to meet to fill her vacancy. Judicial Selection Commission members remain the same as vacancies occur or when the Governor decides to replace a commissioner. Therefore, based on the text, Pat Davis has been removed from the Court of Appeals Judicial selection commission. The Court of Appeals Judicial Selection Commission will convene when Chief Justice Nakamura does retire and if the Governor wants to appoint a whole new commission and she can include Pat Davis if she wants.
The Governor’s office has not issued any statement to confirm if Pat Davis will be not be serving on any future Judicial Selection Commission for the Supreme Court nor any other court vacancy. Such removal is usually revealed only with the announcement of new commission members when a court vacancy occurs.
NEW MEXICO COURT OF APPEALS JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION JUNE 29, 2020
On June 29, 2020, the list of names appointed to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission was released. There were 9 Democrats (D), 9 Republicans (R) and one Independent (I) appointed to the commission. The appointments were:
Sergio Pareja, Chair, Dean of UNM School of Law
Justice Michael Vigil, D- appointed by Chief Justice Judith Nakamura
Chief Judge J. Miles Hanisee, R- NM Court of Appeals
Judge Jacqueline Medina, D -Santa Fe District Court Judge
Michael Sanchez, D- appointed by State Senator Papen
Oliva Garcia, D- appointed by State Senator Papen
Vicente Alvarado, D-appointed by Speaker of House Brian Egolf
Kelly Stout Sanchez, D- appointed by Speaker of House Egolf
Shannon L. Kennedy, D-appointed by Governor Lujan Grisham
Alb City Councilor, D- Pat Davis, appointed by Governor Lujan Grisham
Andrew J. (Drew) Cloutier, – R-appointed by State Bar
Paul Kennedy, R – State Bar/Judges 201 12th St NW ABQ, NM 87102
Larry J. Montano, R – Appointed by State Bar/Judges
Kimberly Chavez Cook, D – Appointed by State Bar/Judges
Maris Veidemanis, R- appointed by State Bar/Judges
Allegra Carpenter, R – appointed by State Bar/Judges
Samantha Kelly, R – State Bar/Judges
Denise M. Torres, R – State Bar/Judges
Jack Fortner, R – State Bar/Judges
Republicans – 9 Democrats – 9 Independent – 1
The judicial selection process is outline in the POSTSCRIPT to this blog article.
Review of the entire list of names appointed to the Appellate Court Judicial Selection Commission reveals that only Pat Davis has the dubious distinction of being arrested for Aggravated DWI and who has also been sued for civil rights violations, negligence and false arrest and imprisonment as a police officer. All others have a level of gravitas or credentials and understand New Mexico’s judicial system to serve on a commission that selects judges. The fact that Pat Davis is the current Albuquerque City Council President does not give him a “clean slate” nor does it absolve him from his past conduct as a police officer who violated peoples civil rights in order to qualify him to be given the authority to interview and help select attorneys to fill court vacancies.
BLOG ARTICLE REVEALING PAT DAVIS PATTERN OF VIOLATING PEOPLE’S CIVIL RIGHTS AS A POLICE OFFICER
On June 22, the blog article entitled City Councilor Pat Davis Needs To Step Down To Atone For His Own “Black Lives Matter” Moment And Violations Of Peoples Civil Rights As A Police Officer” was published and forwarded to Governor Lujan Grisham’s office. The link to the article is here:
The blog article is an in-depth report on 3 known court actions that have been resolved. The cases involve actions of City Council President Pat Davis as a police officer before his election to the Albuquerque City Council. The cases are no longer pending with two settled with monetary damages paid by the University of New Mexico and charges dismissed in another.
All of Pat Davis’ political opponents over the years, as well as the local news media, have never fully investigated, reported on nor confronted Pat Davis in any meaningful way about the civil litigation he has been involved with as a Defendant relating to his actions as a sworn police officer here in New Mexico and in Washington, DC. His actions in New Mexico have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in settlements paid.
PROGRESNOW CALLS FOR MULTIPLE RESINGATIONS FROM POSITIONS OF TRUST
On June 25, ProgressNow released a statement calling for Pat Davis to resign from the city council and other positions of influence he holds Following are relevant portions of the June 25, ProgressNow statement.
Title: ProgressNow New Mexico Statement on Councilor Davis’ Shooting of a Black Man and Pattern of Upholding Racist Institutions
By Marianna Anaya
“… [N}ew details have surfaced regarding former ProgressNow New Mexico Executive Director and Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis’ shooting of a Black man while working as a cop in Washington D.C. [See link #1 below] Davis originally founded ProgressNow New Mexico but left the organization in 2017 and while his name is attached to the organization and its beginnings, we want to state clearly that his past and present actions are not reflective of ProgressNow New Mexico values.
“ProgressNow New Mexico finds it imperative to continue calling out racism when we see it and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions,” said Alissa Barnes, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico. “No matter who that person is.”
Part of our accountability work as an organization is to investigate bad behavior by bad actors. Unfortunately, Davis’ shooting of a Black man isn’t the only example of his troubling actions. A pattern has unearthed that continues into the present. After Davis moved to Albuquerque, he had multiple civil rights complaints [See link #2 below] lodged against him while serving as a cop at the University of New Mexico.
Later, as he ran for elected office, Davis reflected on his experience as a cop, utilizing a “tough on crime” narrative, referencing his time as “zero-tolerance cop– the kind you wouldn’t want to pull you over”. [See link #3 below]. As he ran for Bernalillo County Sheriff, his website highlighted his targeting of community members for low-level offenses, like marijuana possession. [See link #4 below.]
As a self-proclaimed “progressive” Davis is not exempt from accountability. Davis’ sustained pattern of racist actions over a long period of years has led us to call for Davis to step down from his positions of authority, including the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the Judicial Selection Committee, Governor Lujan Grisham’s Marijuana Legalization Task Force, and his seat on City Council. Surely, our community does not need someone who routinely targets and criminalizes Black and Brown people to be serving on committees that select judges, decide the future of marijuana legalization in our state, or pass policies and make financial decisions for the City of Albuquerque.”
Link #2: https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/06/22/city-councilor-pat-davis-needs-to-step-down-to-atone-for-his-own-black-lives-matter-moment-and-violations-of-peoples-civil-rights-as-a-police-officer/
The link to ProgressNow New Mexico page is here:
POLITICAL CONSULTANT COMMON DENOMINATOR OF PAT DAVIS, DA RAUL TORREZ AND MAYOR TIM KELLER
Pat Davis is the current Chairman of the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (BCJCC). He was nominated to the position by District Attorney Raul Torres. The paid political consultant for Pat Davis, District Attorney Raul Torrez and Mayor Tim Keller when all 3 ran for office is none other that Alan Packman, the longtime political consultant for Mayor Tim Keller. Packman ran Keller’s race for State Senate and Mayor. Packman is currently employed by Mayor Tim Keller and works for the city’s 311 call center and answers to Mayor Tim Keller. Before going to work for the City, Packman was a full time paid political consultant and was the “go to guy” to run the political campaigns of young, progressive Democrats, inlcuding the campigns of Secretary of State Maggie Talouse Oliver. (EDITOR’S NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, Alan Packman worked on the unsuccessful 2013 Pete Dinelli for Mayor Campaign.)
The BCJCC is a 13 member commission consisting of the Chief Judges of the District Court and Metropolitan Court, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, the President of the NM Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Bernalillo County Sheriff, the Albuquerque Police Chief, a Bernalillo County Commissioner, a City Councilor, the ABQ Chief Administrative Officer, the Regional Administrator of New Mexico Probation and Parole and the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The purpose of the BCJCC is to serve as a forum concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, which includes identifying issues and their solutions, proposing actions, and facilitating cooperation that will enhance public safety and reduce crime in Bernalillo County, advance the fair and timely disposition of cases, maximize the efficient use of criminal justice resources, and ensure justice and improved outcomes for those accused of crimes and the victims of crimes.
THE PREAMBLE TO THE CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT
The preamble to the New Mexico Code of Judicial Conduct Provides as follows:
“An independent, fair, and impartial judiciary is indispensable to our system of justice. The United States legal system is based upon the principle that an independent, impartial, and competent judiciary, composed of men and women of integrity, will interpret and apply the law that governs our society.
Thus, the judiciary plays a central role in preserving the principles of justice and the rule of law. Inherent in all the rules [of the code of judicial conduct] … are the precepts that judges, individually and collectively, must respect and honor the judicial office as a public trust and strive to maintain and enhance confidence in the legal system.
Judges should maintain the dignity of judicial office at all times and avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and personal lives. They should aspire at all times to conduct that ensures the greatest possible public confidence in their independence, impartiality, integrity, and competence.”
Every Judge, appointed or elected, takes an oath of office and their conduct is regulated by the Code of Judicial Conduct. The New Mexico Code of Judicial Conduct establishes the standards for the ethical conduct of all judges. Judges are governed in their judicial and personal conduct by general ethical standards as well as by the Judicial Code of Conduct. The Code provides guidance and assist for judges in maintaining the highest standards of judicial and personal conduct and to provide a basis for regulating their conduct through disciplinary agencies. Judges can be fined, suspended or removed from office by the New Mexico Supreme Court for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
I have been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978 (42 years). After over 27 years of municipal and state government service, I retired from public service in 2009. Although many who know of me consider me a “politician” but it is my professional career as a trial attorney, prosecutor and judge that represents the overwhelming majority of my legal career.
I was an elected official for only 4 years during my 42-year legal career. I have served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge, as a prosecutor for 15 years, including serving as Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. My legal profession is something that I have dedicated most of my life to and it’s a profession I am very proud of and it’s a profession that I know must be held to the highest ethical standards.
One important thing I learned over the years as a prosecutor who worked with some of the finest law enforcement officers in the state is how important it is for our criminal justice system to preserve, protect and respect basic constitutional rights, civil rights and human rights, all rights that are imbedded within our US Constitution. As a prosecutor I reviewed many search warrants for sufficiency and probable cause. I was taught the basic principles of search and seizure law by my boss the former Deputy Attorney General and former District Judge James Blackmer who was considered at the time the number one expert in New Mexico search and seizure law.
Throughout my public service career, I have been a strong advocate for police civilian oversight. Early in my legal career as an Assistant District Attorney, I was involved with the successful prosecution of 3 police officers who broke the law while on duty and employed by APD. As a City Councilor I sponsored and was successful in getting enacted an ordinance calling for the first-time civilian review of complaints filed against police officers. When I was Chief Public Safety Officer, I advocated termination of police officers who violated people’s civil rights. I did the same when I was a city councilor.
Our law enforcement communities must understand with complete clarity that the presumption of guilt by law enforcement of anyone coupled with attempted or fabrication of evidence can never be tolerated. Court ordered search warrants are absolutely the essential for the protection of our civil rights, rights against unreasonable search and seizure and to prohibit the taking of property without due process of law. This is why I find the conduct of Pat Davis as a police officer so abhorrent.
WHY PAT DAVIS SHOULD NEVER SERVE ON JUDICIAL SELECTION COMMISSION
Pat Davis has been appointed to positions of trust and confidentiality by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Albuquerque City Council and the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Two of those positions affect the New Mexico Bar, the criminal justice policy in Bernalillo County and the selection of judges. The past actions as a police officer by Davis, and his arrest for Aggravated DWI, should have disqualified Davis from the appointments, presuming he disclosed them before the appointments were even made. Any one who thinks that he has been vetted and forgiven for past mistakes because he successfully won twice for city council is seriously mistaken and being a fool. Many people of nefarious reputation have been elected to positions of authority, even a President of the United States. Election vetting and even a pardon does not absolve any one from serious misconduct.
The Code of Judicial conduct holds members of the judiciary to high ethical standards. This is absolutely necessary for the integrity of the legal justice system and we must be able to depend on it. Those who sit in judgment of others in legal proceedings, criminal and civil, must conduct themselves in a manner that maintains public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
When it comes to those appointed to the Judicial Selection Commission, they too must be citizens that have conducted themselves in a manner that that reflects honesty, integrity and moral character. Those who serve on the Judicial Selection Commission are given an oath to carry on their duties of selection and need to be above reproach and influence. Judicial Selection Commissioners need to select people to nominate as a judge in a fair and impartial manner very much like what is expected of Judges.
Pat Davis as a police officer has a very troubling pattern of violating people’s civil rights, first as a police officer in Washington DC, then as a UNM Campus Police Offer. Pat Davis’ record of his past actions in a position of authority are a clear indication of what the public can expect of the type of judgment calls he will make when selecting people for the Judiciary. He had no business being appointed in the first place if in fact he revealed his past in the vetting for the appointments.
Given what is known about City Councilor Pat Davis, his actions as a police officer, his litigation history, his credibility is in serious doubt as are his political motives. The real Pat Davis, and his lack of respect for constitutional rights are revealed by his pattern of conduct he engaged if for years and was sued for as a UNM Police Officer and his conduct as a DC Police Officer. Pat Davis has no business making decisions regarding police reforms, law enforcement policy let alone be involved in the process deciding who is fit to be a judge.
If Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is sincere and truly wants to make amends for his past conduct as a police officer, he needs to show some degree of honesty and integrity. He needs to stay off of any and all future Judicial Selection Commissions, step down and remove himself as City Council President, and resign or be replaced as the chairman of the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (BCJCC). All 3 appointed positions are positions of trust and influence in our criminal justice system. City Councilor Pat Davis has told the news media he has no intention of resigning from the city council. If that is the case, the Albuquerque City Council needs to move quickly and vote to replace Pat Davis as President, otherwise they will be viewed as a group of elected official willing to be lead by someone with a nefarious and troubling past.
The very last thing that is needed is for Pat Davis to serve in any one of the 3 appointed positions as someone who has said he has “made arrests and instigated some encounters I wouldn’t be proud of today” and who has engaged in “brutalization … of those who [he was] supposed to protect and serve.”
JUDICIAL VACANCY SELECTION PROCESS
When a judicial vacancy occurs, the appropriate nominating commission recommends qualified candidates to the governor, and the governor makes an appointment. At the next general election, a contested partisan election is held to fill the seat for the remainder of the term. The successful candidate runs in retention elections thereafter. The threshold for retention is higher in New Mexico than in most other states; judges must receive at least 57% in affirmative votes to be retained.”
JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS
There are fifteen judicial nominating commissions that screen applicants for vacancies on New Mexico courts and recommend qualified candidates to the governor: the appellate judges nominating commission for the supreme court and court of appeals; a district court judges nominating committee for each of the state’s thirteen judicial districts; and a metropolitan court judges nominating committee for the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.
The appellate judges nominating commission consists of fourteen members: the chief justice or the chief justice’s designee; two court of appeals judges appointed by the chief judge of the court of appeals; one lawyer and one nonlawyer appointed by the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the president pro tempore of the senate; the dean of the University of New Mexico law school, who serves as chair; and four lawyers appointed jointly by the president of the state bar and the judge members of the commission.
Appointments to the judicial nominating commissions are to be made so that the state’s two largest political parties are equally represented. The state bar president and the judge members may make additional appointments as necessary to fulfill this requirement. There are no established term lengths for commission members; the appointing authorities are asked each time a judicial vacancy occurs whether the members of the relevant commission should be retained or replaced.
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