Not so honorable: New Mexico Supreme Court censures Democrat judge

In a recent development, a Democrat New Mexico judge from Las Cruces, The “honorable” James Martin of the 3rd Judicial District Court, faced public censure from the New Mexico Supreme Court for breaching six rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct. 

The censure, issued on Nov. 13, followed an acknowledgment of allegations by Judge Martin, who admitted to influencing prosecutors to pursue more severe charges against Robert “Berto” Burnham in a 2018 case.

Judge James T. Martin. Portrait via NM Courts.

The case involved Burnham, the former owner of Boots And Bourbon, who was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a semi-automatic rifle at a woman at the Las Cruces bar, identified as Martin’s daughter. The bar subsequently closed in 2018, and Burnham was convicted in 2021, with an ongoing appeal.

During Burnham’s trial, Judge Martin reportedly leveraged his authority to coerce prosecutors Samuel Rosten and Spencer Wilson into modifying the charges against Burnham. In a phone call, Martin directed the prosecutors to use language such as “brandish a firearm” in jury instructions instead of stating that Burnham “pointed a firearm” at Martin’s daughter. Following this, an amended jury instruction was submitted, alleging that Burnham “brandished and/or pointed a deadly weapon.”

After Burnham’s conviction, Martin inquired about his detention, expressing satisfaction that he was taken into custody. The court’s opinion highlighted Martin’s allowance of his daughter in his chambers during the trial, acknowledging the potential appearance of impropriety.

The Supreme Court’s censure aimed to emphasize the importance of judges avoiding any appearance of impropriety and to reassure the public of the legal system’s commitment to maintaining an independent, fair, and impartial judiciary.


15 thoughts on “Not so honorable: New Mexico Supreme Court censures Democrat judge”

    1. I agree he should be removed. Cas was a conflict of interest and he should have himself. I don’t have faith in our justice system at all anymore.

    2. He should never been part of that case to start with. There should have been a change of venue. Our court system is lacking integrity as are our judges. But I am surprised the Supreme Court did that.

    3. I agree, but will that really happen. So many judges are corrupt and do not correctly apply the law to many cases. as well of release many criminals and prosecute honest citizens.

    4. Only in this joke of a state does a judge try a case that involves a family member.We are a big fat joke and we are controlled 100% by DEMOCRATS!

  1. Democrats get a slap on the wrist & fleeting embarrassment (if any of them even have that emotion). If he was a Republican, he WOULD be removed & disbarred

  2. Our Constitution actually does not vest judicial power to the States and this is a prime example of one of the myriad of reasons for not vesting it to States, much less to lower strata than States. The judge is the FATHER of the VICTIM. Are u FRICK-IN k i d d i n g me. And they were only concerned because he allowed her in his chambers during the trial!!!!! Give me a break. That’s some serious old world crap for which our Constitution was written to relieve us from. People should be shocked and disgusted. This trash is going on in our Country because we’re still living under the judicial system of the Articles of Confederation. One of these days we’ll get a President brave enough to enforce our Constitution and get us out from underneath these bunch of RIDICULOUS kangaroo courts

    1. What i the crap?!. Who was his defense attorney? My cousin Vinnie? Father of the “victim” is the judge? If there ever was grounds for a mistrial, that was it.
      Welcome to Grishamland

  3. Same BS in Catron County and their ‘substitute magistrates’ from Socorro, etc. The NM Attorney General should order an audit of every case adjudicated within the state. I believe you’d be surprised.

  4. I surprised that this case actually went before the NMSC and disciplinary measures were actually taken. Not surprised to learn that a NM Judge goes outside the rules of Judicial conduct I see it on a daily biases here with the Judges of the Chaves County Judicial District the sad part is when its the District Court Judges whom are learned in the law I expect to see that out of a magistrate or municipal judge. Might as well refer to the District Courts as SUPER-MAGISTRATES until we start getting some accountability. Judges should answer to an entity other that then their own. See: J.A.I.L 4

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