Supreme Court rejects proposed punishment

The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Supreme Court has rejected a proposed formal reprimand of an Albuquerque judge, saying it isn’t sufficient punishment.

Instead, the justices said Bernalillo County Metropolitan Judge Theresa Gomez should be suspended without pay for two weeks.

Last month, Gomez — who lived rent-free for nearly two years in a home owned by a government affordable housing agency — agreed to a reprimand and to pay $17,000 in back rent.

Gomez, who earns more than $93,000 a year, moved into the home after the Region III Housing Authority bought it in October 2004.

She left at the end of 2006 after paying the authority $4,250, representing five months’ rent.

The judge has said she dismissed two traffic citations and canceled a related arrest warrant for Vincent “Smiley” Gallegos, who headed the housing agency at the time.

Gallegos, a Clovis native, was a state representative for Curry and Roosevelt counties from 1987 to 1996.

Gomez said Gallegos told her someone using his identity received the citations.

Gomez and the state Judicial Standards Commission had asked the Supreme Court to approve a reprimand, the minimum punishment the commission could request.

But the court on Sept. 25 sent the case back to the commission for further proceedings, saying a formal reprimand “does not appear to be adequate.”

The justices said that Gomez’s communications with Gallegos, which resulted the traffic citations being dismissed, “warrants a period of suspension.”