Emergency cash for New Mexico courts approved

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Emergency funding has been approved to ensure jury trials can continue in New Mexico state courts and to stave off unpaid furloughs at the state Supreme Court.

The New Mexico Board of Finance led by Gov. Susana Martinez approved a $600,000 infusion to a fund that compensates jurors and another $83,000 for operations at the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Judith Nakamura said the decision will extend funding for jury trials through April 14. She says that gives the Legislature time to address an additional $1 million shortfall in funding for juries, witnesses, court interpreters and other expenses.

Board members questioned Nakamura for more than two hours about court spending and suggested implementing user fees on court filings to bring in more money.