► Judge Stephen S. Salazar of Española, NM: repeat offender Print E-mail
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Judge Stephen S. Salazar of Española, NM: repeat offender

 
April 2012, the Judicial Standards Commission found Judge Salazar guilty of the following misconduct while sitting as a Española Municipal Court judge.
  1. Executed an unlawful order as consequence of illegal ex parte (one-sided) communication
  2. Violated defendant’s due process rights to an attorney
  3. Violated defendant’s right to a trial
  4. Illegally ordered the seizure of a parties motorcycle in favor of a friend
  5. Acting in a judicial capacity when he had no legal jurisdiction to so act 
Judge Salazar’s misconduct involved a request from David Vigil to issue an order that George Luna, owner of Aces Towing immediately return to Vigil a motorcycle that was towed during the course of a criminal case then pending in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court.
 
Salazar signed the order without giving Mr. Luna any notice or opportunity to oppose it. Salazar then embossed the seal of Española Municipal Court on the illegal order and then gave the original copy to David Vigil.
 
David Vigil is the son of a member of Judge Salazar’s 400-member church. Salazar knew David Vigil and his father well before signing the illegal order.
 
Salazar the Repeat Offender
 
As one could expect, this wasn’t Stephen’s 1st bite at the Judicial Misfit Apple Tree. In 2006 and 2007 and Judicial Commission specifically found that Salazar had committed willful misconduct in regards to three separate incidents.
 
In these prior cases, the Commission found that Salazar willfully violated the due process rights of defendants by depriving them of their right to counsel and to a trial. He was also found guilty of attempting to use his judicial position to assist a friend in a domestic violence matter. Lastly, the Commission ruled that Salazar improperly brought religion into the courthouse and that he used “intemperate and profane” language.
 
As a consequence of his misconduct, the apologists for Judicial Misfits sitting on the Commission punished Stephen by gifting him with an “informal disposition” and ordering that he complete a judicial ethics class in Reno, Nevada. What was the point of sending Stephen the Loser to ethics classes?
 
Clearly it didn’t work! They may have well have ordered Stephen to spend some valuable time at the Mustang Ranch!
 
Given the Commission’s empathy for Judicial Misfits, it’s likely that Judge Salazar doesn’t have anything to fear in regards to really being punished. At best they’ll likely present him with a complimentary reprimand.
 

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