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In re Vincent
Supreme Court of New Mexico
143 N.M. 56 (2007)
Magistrate Judge William Vincent Jr. (defendant) publicly endorsed Bill Standley in a local newspaper for election as mayor. The endorsement listed Judge Vincent’s name as a supporter of Standley, but did not mention that Judge Vincent was a magistrate court judge. The Judicial Standards Commission (Commission) filed a petition for discipline against Judge Vincent, alleging that he had violated provisions of New Mexico’s Code of Judicial Conduct (Code) by publicly endorsing Standley for mayor in a newspaper. Specifically, the Commission pointed to Rule 21-700(A)(3)(b) of the Code, referred to as the endorsement clause, which provided that a judge was not allowed to publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office. Judge Vincent admitted that he had endorsed a candidate for public office. However, Judge Vincent contested any discipline, arguing that his endorsement was constitutionally protected free speech and that the endorsement clause violated the First Amendment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per Curiam)
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