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Las Vegas judge quits amid allegations

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A northern New Mexico judge who stepped down from the bench amid allegations of misbehavior acknowledges his legacy of 20 years on the bench has been tarnished.

Eugenio Mathis, who resigned Thursday as a district judge in Las Vegas, said he was a hardworking and conscientious judge.

Mathis resigned under an agreement approved by the New Mexico State Supreme Court and that he didn’t do some of the things included in a panel’s allegations against him.

The state Judicial Standards Commission alleged numerous types of misbehavior by Mathis, including that he and his wife engaged in communications and conduct of a sexual nature during the work day. It also alleged that Mathis undermined the supervision of his wife, a court employee.

Mathis said in a statement that he resigned to avoid “the further public airing of the contentious atmosphere that exists at the court,” the Las Vegas Optic reported.

“While my legacy is almost assuredly tarnished by these recent events, I am proud of the many accomplishments that occurred during my tenure,” Mathis said. “The most notable being the construction of the new courthouse, the establishment of the third judgeship and the selection of the Fourth Judicial District as the first court to implement the statewide court management system.”

Among the allegations that Mathis admitted were violating the judicial branch’s computer and Internet policy, making disparaging remarks to and about employees and fellow judges, and failing to cooperate with other officials in administration of court business.

He denied allegations including the ones concerning his wife and also letting her conduct family business during work. Mathis’ wife was placed on paid administrative leave on Feb. 12. The leave was to expire Monday, documents stated.

Abigail Aragon, chief judge of the 4th Judicial District, said court workers were shocked and disappointed, “but they’re ready to move forward.”

Mathis’ caseload is being redistributed between Aragon and Judge Matthew Sandoval. Gov. Susana Martinez will appoint a replacement from applicants to be recommended by a state nominating commission.

Mathis said he began the retirement process on Feb. 14, four days before he was notified of the state’s investigation. The 58-year-old said he plans to practice law and serve as a mediator.