New Mexico is on a roll. It’s a relatively small state, at least in terms of population (#36), but it brings us two consecutive Judges of the Day. Our most recent Judge of the Day — or, technically, Ex-Judge of the Day — was John Brennan of Albuquerque, accused of choking his young girlfriend, while clad in nothing but a mock turtleneck and gray underwear. Today a tipster writes:
From the Albuquerque Journal (subscription):
A Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court judge who fixed two dozen traffic tickets for family members, friends and co-workers was removed from the bench Wednesday by the state Supreme Court.
The state’s highest court chose a harsher punishment than the Judicial Standards Commission, which recommended that Judge J. Wayne Griego be suspended without pay for 90 days and reprimanded for ticket-fixing.
It does seem a trifle harsh. Apparently the justices were troubled by the commission’s finding that Griego was “not completely forthcoming in his testimony.” But removal is not a punishment meted out frequently:
The court last ordered a judge removed in late 2006, when Doña Ana County Magistrate Carlos Garza was banned from the bench after the commission said he had tested positive for cocaine.
Judge Griego Is Removed From Bench [Albuquerque Journal (subscription)]