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District Judge Sarah Weaver disqualified from June primary election
Forms submitted did not include division number
FARMINGTON — Eleventh Judicial District Judge Sarah Weaver plans to run as a write-in candidate for her judicial position in November's general election after being removed from the ballot in June's primary election because her nominating petition forms were disqualified.
The New Mexico Supreme Court on April 17 affirmed Weaver's removal from the June 8 primary election and disqualified her from the ballot for the Division 3 district judge seat for the 11th Judicial District, according to Weaver.
Weaver told The Daily Times she was disappointed she made the error and understands the rationale behind the decisions of the judges. But she said she didn't agree with the decisions.
"That's why I explored all the legal proceedings," Weaver said. "I will accept all the results."
Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Weaver to the bench on Feb. 2. Weaver was recommended for the appointment by members of the 11th Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission on Jan. 25. The vacancy occurred when Sandra Price retired from the bench at the end of last year.
Weaver was the only candidate to file for the 11th Judicial District Division 3 district judge seat and the seat was the only 11th Judicial District judge position on the June primary election ballot.
The appointment by the governor runs through the end of the year, and Weaver had to run for election to complete Price's term, which is set to end on Dec. 31, 2019.
Weaver was notified in a letter from New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver's office on March 20 that her nominating petitions with more than 500 valid signatures were disqualified because the forms she submitted did not list her division number.
She received the letter on the same day of the write-in candidate filing day for the June primary election.
An expedited petition to approve Weaver's nominating petition forms was filed by Weaver's attorney Jack Fortner on March 30 in the First Judicial District Court.
The petition states the Secretary of State's Office erroneously disqualified the forms for failure to list Weaver's division number because there is only one division at issue.
The petition claims the state Supreme Court faced the same issue in another case in 2012 and ruled in favor of the petitioner. It also claims the form mandated by the Secretary of State's Office lacks space to include a division or district number, according to court documents.
Attorneys for the New Mexico Attorney General's Office representing Oliver on April 5 filed a motion to dismiss Weaver's petition and affirm the disqualification of Weaver as a judicial candidate.
The response states the candidates must include the judicial division number of the office sought at the toe of their nominating petition forms in accordance with 2017 election code, according to court documents.
First Judicial District Judge David Thomson granted Oliver's motion to dismiss and disqualify Weaver from the June primary during an April 6 hearing in Santa Fe.
Weaver filed an appeal on April 12 to the New Mexico Supreme Court regarding Thomson's decision.
Oliver's attorneys filed a response to Weaver's appeal on April 16, a day before the state Supreme Court issued an order to reaffirm the disqualification of the nominating petition forms and Weaver from the June primary.
"I have to take a different route to get the same destination," Weaver said.
She plans on filing as a general election write-in candidate for the seat on June 28 and will continue to campaign for the Nov. 6 general election
Weaver added she wants to be the best judge for the community and has learned a lot from her time on the bench.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at email@example.com.