SANTA FE – Prosecutors and public defenders are requesting budget increases approaching 20 percent – or roughly $23 million – as they try to recruit and retain qualified attorneys, especially in rural parts of New Mexico.
In a legislative hearing Thursday, John Sugg, the district attorney for Lincoln and Otero counties, said it’s difficult to hire attorneys to work in Carrizozo, the county seat in Lincoln, with fewer than 1,000 residents. The recruits take a look at the four-way stop and the Allsup’s, he said, and they decide they’d rather work in a bigger city.
“This attorney caseload is out of control,” Sugg told the Legislative Finance Committee. “I’m losing them left and right.”
He said the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office handles more cases per attorney than any other in the state.