Sunday, January 29, 2006
Lawsuit Against Judge Dropped
The Associated Press
LAS CRUCES A federal appeals court has dropped a lawsuit against a Doña Ana County magistrate judge by a court interpreter she ordered arrested in 2001.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled last week that judicial immunity from civil lawsuits protects Magistrate Susana Chaparro from being held liable for damages.
Chaparro already was disciplined for failing to be patient, dignified and courteous to court employees and improperly issuing a warrant for the arrest of court interpreter Magdalena Giron.
Chaparro, 44, called Giron to her courtroom in July 2001 and asked her to interpret for a Spanish-speaking defendant. Giron left and ignored Chaparro's orders to return to the courtroom and then refused an order to leave the courthouse.
The next day, Chaparro had Giron arrest for contempt of court, but a district court judge ordered Giron released.
The lawsuit alleged that Chaparro harassed Giron because she had beaten out Chaparro's sister for the court interpreter contract.
But the appeals court said Tuesday that judicial immunity applies to the situation regardless of any alleged personal motives or procedural errors.
"I am very pleased that I've been vindicated, and I think justice has been served," Chaparro said.
Chaparro took the office in 1999 and was re-elected in 2002. She was suspended by the New Mexico Supreme Court in June 2005 for two weeks without pay because she interfered in her son's traffic case in magistrate court.
Copyright ©2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.