BY ELIZABETH ALLEN
Fourteen years ago, I passed the bar exam and embarked on a meaningful career as a lawyer. I have worked as a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a sole practitioner. I represented children in child protection court, lifers in prison on their post-conviction appeals, and families seeking special education services. My favorite job, though, has been serving as the Municipal Judge in Los Alamos, and that is why I am running for re-election.
As a new judge in 2019, I was excited to learn the position and to improve the court process. Not only did my new initiatives bring improvements, but also—as it turns out—they prepared the Los Alamos court for the enormous challenges we all faced together during the pandemic.
My staff and I decided to go paperless in 2019, which was a huge undertaking. Transferring all files electronically and transitioning to no longer using paper was a big adjustment, but in the end, it meant that when there were closures during the pandemic, we never had to close court. We still provided services online, and we maintained the same level of services as before.
I signed up for an online service that provides interpretation of any language that is used for court translation—a new feature that has served our court very well. My staff and I attended a training on how to create a DWI court. That training encouraged us to find online treatment options, and we began to evaluate our probation and treatment options. These resources were fundamental when we had to transition to remote and online services.
The court continues to be flexible, adapting to the latest research and evidence-based practices in developing pre-trial services, probation, teen court and other diversionary practices. Every court hearing has an online option, which will continue to be offered. The last four years of being judge has been a practice in pivoting, being flexible and adapting. Our success gives me well-founded confidence that my nimble and forward-thinking approach as Judge will continue to aid the court in the next four years.
In addition to the work I have done in the court, I stay aware of the issues affecting the judiciary throughout the state by serving on committees. I am the president of the Municipal Judge Association, which consists of the 80 city judges throughout the state. I serve with 20 other judges the New Mexico Judicial Council. I have also been working with the Judicial Education Center of NM Law School to provide trainings to judges for the municipal judge conferences and train forty new judges that have been elected throughout the state.
In our community, I serve on the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB) and Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) board. Both positions give me the opportunity to invest in our youth and in environmental education. At home, I enjoy spending time with my spouse and our 3 kids who are now 13, 10 and 7.
The last four years have been a pleasure serving in Los Alamos County, and I look forward to the next four years as your municipal judge.
I appreciate your vote this election – early voting starts Oct. 11.