By Marty Mayfield
Colfax County Manager Mary Lou Kern has presented a proposal to New Mexico Courts to move the Raton Magistrate Court from its existing location on Savage Avenue to the Colfax County Judicial Center in south Raton.
One part of the proposal is designed to help the court workflow run more smoothly by helping attorneys move between district court and magistrate court more easily. With the courts in different parts of town the logistics of scheduling cases is more difficult. Currently there are three court rooms in the Judicial Center that can serve the two courts. Magistrate Court utilizes six-member jury which requires less space than the 12-member jury required by District Court allowing Magistrate court to use one of the smaller court rooms unless it needs the extra space of the large court room.
Prisoner transports to court are made safer since the judicial Center has a sally port and prisoner holding cells downstairs. This keeps prisoners more confined instead of moving them through the open space from the parking lot at the current Magistrate Court.
Another aspect of the proposal will be that the rent would now come to Colfax County. Currently the building that Magistrate Court utilizes is owned by an individual in Peñasco, New Mexico. The current lease agreement is nearing expiration. Kern is expecting a decision from New Mexico Courts in late November.