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Judge quits to avoid discipline

Alamogordo jurist faced actions over alleged incompetence

SANTA FE – A state district court judge in Alamogordo has resigned to avoid possible disciplinary action by New Mexico’s highest court for alleged misconduct and incompetence in his duties.

District Judge William Brogan resigned Friday under an agreement approved by the state Supreme Court, which released a copy of its order on Tuesday.

The Judicial Standards Commission had started disciplinary proceedings against Brogan for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct since 2011, including repeatedly failing to follow rules for handing criminal cases.

The commission said the judge “failed to maintain competence in the performance of judicial duties” or was “unable to perform judicial duties competently and diligently.”

The judge required guidance from court staff and attorneys because of his lack of understanding of basic courtroom procedures, the commission said.

Other examples of the alleged misconduct included “failing to be fair and impartial,” improperly completing sentencing forms and “failing to devote adequate time to judicial duties by not scheduling hearings except emergency hearings on Friday and by not allowing hearings to be scheduled after 3:30 p.m.”

The commission said Brogan told lawyers and others that he was “confused and tired.” He failed to follow rules for handling evidence in cases, “committing clear and/or egregious legal errors; and/or committing a pattern of legal error.”

Under an agreement with the commission and approved by the Supreme Court, Brogan resigned and agreed never to be a candidate for a judgeship or to serve in any judicial office in the future.

Brogan was elected to the court in the 12th Judicial District of Lincoln and Otero counties. He ran unopposed in the 2010 general election after defeating a newly appointed district court judge in the primary election that year.