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NM Supreme Court rules in favor of evicted family

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a family of five that had been evicted from their home in Raton over the summer.

Mirisa Lucero and her husband, Matthew Lucero, were evicted from their Raton home along with their three young children over the summer. (Courtesy of Mirisa Lucero)

Mirisa Lucero, her husband, Matthew Lucero, and their three elementary school-age children have been living in a motel since mid-July. They first made headlines in the Journal in September because they were evicted from a home they rented in Raton, despite a statewide stay on evictions due to the pandemic.

At the time, Mirisa Lucero said her husband had lost his job at a behavioral health agency because it no longer had money in its budget to keep him.

In an order issued Monday, New Mexico Supreme Court justices granted the petition contesting the eviction. They ruled that the family should be reinstated in their rented home, the landlords should not dispose of their belongings and they can appeal the eviction judgment that was issued in July.

Thomas Prettyman, managing attorney for New Mexico Legal Aid who is representing the Luceros, said he’s pleased with the ruling.

“They have to have a new trial in District Court as to whether they should be evicted for not paying rent,” Prettyman said. “But I anticipate that the case will be dismissed because the landlord filed it improperly or the district judge says, ‘I’m sorry; you owe the rent, and the landlord did all the right steps … but the eviction is stayed pursuant to the Supreme Court order that says you can’t get evicted for not paying rent during the COVID era.’ ”

He said that he doesn’t know when the appeal will be heard but that the Luceros can move back to the house before it is decided.

The attorney representing landlords Charles and Lucia Hyde did not respond to requests for comment, but had previously said that his clients, who are in their 80s, need the rental income to survive.

Prettyman said that although he is gratified with the Supreme Court resolution in this case, he just had to file a similar petition for an elderly couple evicted in Doña Ana County.

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