What are New Mexico Civil Court Records?
New Mexico Civil Court records are official documentations of court proceedings of civil lawsuits filed and tried in the state of New Mexico. These records include sworn affidavits, witness testimonies, trial transcripts, filed motions, opinions, and final judgements. In accordance with the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, these records may be viewed, and copies requested, by members of the public.
Understanding the New Mexico Civil Court System
The New Mexico court system comprises a Supreme Court and a Court of Appeals as well as multiple District Courts, Magistrate Courts, Probate Courts, and Municipal Courts. The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court is also part of the state’s judiciary.
The New Mexico Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction which allows it to review the decisions of the state’s Court of Appeals. The New Mexico Court of Appeals is the state’s intermediate appellate court with jurisdiction over all matters of appeal in the state with the exclusion of cases over which the Supreme Court has mandatory appellate jurisdiction.
The New Mexico judiciary is divided into 13 districts, each of which has at least one District Court. These District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil cases in the state and exercise exclusive jurisdiction over all juvenile matters through its Children’s Court Division as well as over cases involving domestic relations and mental health. The District Courts also have limited appellate jurisdiction over appeals from administrative agencies and any of the lower courts.
Magistrate Courts, in New Mexico, have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil cases including general civil claims not exceeding $10,000, tenancy cases, matters of tort and contract, and traffic violations. New Mexico Probate Courts hear informal probate and estate matters. These courts only hold non-jury trials. The New Mexico judiciary gives Municipal Courts general jurisdiction over all municipal ordinance violations. Trials in these courts proceed without a jury.
The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court is currently the only metropolitan court in New Mexico. It functions similarly to the state’s magistrate courts and has limited jurisdiction over certain civil cases such as civil matters not exceeding $10,000, contract matters, and traffic violations. The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court also has jurisdiction over domestic violence matters in Bernalillo County.
What’s included in a New Mexico Civil Court Record?
The information available in court records vary depending on the type of case and the court where the case was heard. Generally, New Mexico civil court records include the following information:
- Identities of the parties involved
- Details of civil complaints
- List of evidences and witnesses
- Motions, orders, injunctions, and other court-sanctioned procedures
- Final judgement and other post-trial court documents
Obtaining New Mexico Civil Court Records
Anyone can access and request copies of New Mexico Civil civil court records:
- In person
- By mail
- Online via official websites
- Online via third-party aggregate websites
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
How Do I Access New Mexico Civil Court Records in Person?
Requesters have to visit courthouses to request records in this way. However, this method delivers more complete sets of records than other methods of requesting civil court records in New Mexico. To obtain civil court records in person, follow the following steps:
- Identify the Right Court
Civil cases in the state of New Mexico generally fall under the jurisdiction of district courts. Civil cases can also be filed and heard in any of the other state’s trial courts. Therefore, the first step is identifying the courthouse where the case of interest was filed/heard
- Gather Case Information
In order to locate court records, interested parties must provide court officials with relevant information needed to find and retrieve those records. These information typically include, but are not limited to, names of the parties involved, case file numbers, and the dates the civil lawsuits were filed
- Visit the Court Record Custodian
This step is required in order to submit a request to inspect and/or obtain copies of the court records in person to the court’s record custodian. In the state of New Mexico, court clerks are record custodians. Therefore, requests for civil court records must be submitted to the offices of these clerks located in the various courthouses. Use the New Mexico Court Directory to find the physical and web address as well as phone and fax numbers of the court where the records are kept.
- Provide Identification and Pay Any Required Fees
In addition to submitting formal requests for civil court records, court clerks require requesters to provide some forms of identification. These are usually government-issued photo IDs. Record custodians may also charge search and/or copy fees for the court records requested
How Do I Find New Mexico Civil Court Records by Mail?
Interested parties who wish to obtain records of civil court cases via mail may do so by sending written requests to the courts where the records are located. Requirements for obtaining these records may vary by court, but a typical mail request should generally include the following:
- Names of the parties involved
- Details of the party requesting the records
- A self-addressed envelope
- Appropriate payment to cover search fees and/or copies of the record(s) required
This payment should be made out to either the court or the office of the record custodian in the form of money order or check. Cash is rarely allowed. Before submitting a mail request for court records, contact the record custodian for any additional requirements
How to Find New Mexico Civil Court Records Online?
Members of the public can access civil court records online through a number of options provided by the New Mexico state courts system. These methods include:
- The New Mexico Courts Case Lookup portal. This database allows interested parties perform searches either by name, case number, or DWI when attempting to access court records
- Completing and submitting an Online Request Form. Members of the public who wish to utilize this method for requesting for civil court records are advised to be as specific as possible when providing details of the records being requested
- Secured Odyssey Public Access. Access to court records online via this method is restricted. Members of the public who wish to inspect civil court records through this database are required to register on the platform
How to Find New Mexico Civil Court Records Using Third-Party Aggregate Sites
Third-party aggregate websites allow those seeking New Mexico court records to access them remotely without submitting formal requests. To search for records on these sites, interested parties may be required to provide case details such as the names of the parties involved and the locations of the courthouses where the civil lawsuits were filed and heard. Where available, these websites may also request and obtain copies of these records on behalf of requesters. It should be noted that third-party sites are not government websites. Therefore, record availability may vary significantly from official channels.
Are all New Mexico Civil Court Records Public?
Most of the state’s civil court records are readily available to the public. However, some of these records are confidential because they are sealed or redacted. Records exempted from public access include:
- Law enforcement records that reveal confidential sources, methods, information or individuals accused but not charged with a crime
- Physical or mental health examination records
- Attorney-client privileged information
- Letters of reference concerning employment, licensing, or permits
- Protected personal identifier information
While some confidential civil court records are sealed by default, others are sealed by court orders after involved parties petition the court to restrict public access.
Can I Access Sealed New Mexico Civil Court Records?
Only the parties involved in cases whose records are sealed can access those records. Their legal representatives and officers of the court may also have access to these sealed records. Third-party individuals seeking to access sealed civil court records in New Mexico must first obtain court orders authorizing access to those records.
Are there Public Records of Mediation Processes in New Mexico?
Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to a variety of methods used to reduce or totally eliminate the problems associated with disagreements. The New Mexico state court system provides access to mediation services for domestic relations cases, child abuse and child neglect cases and some civil cases such as home foreclosures or neighbor disputes.
Mediation processes in the state of New Mexico are usually confidential and in most cases, providers of these services are prohibited from divulging details of the process. However these confidentiality rules vary by court and so interested parties who wish to access records of an Alternative Dispute Resolution session are advised to get more information on the rules of confidentiality that apply to the court where the mediation process took place.