Singleton Rules Against License Verification Program

Sarah Singleton
KOAT TV is reporting that District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled on Tuesday that the state of New Mexico can only conduct an investigation if it gets a returned letter from the driver's license verification program. According to observers close to the New Mexico judiciary, the outcome of the ruling by Singleton was never in doubt. Less than two weeks ago, Judge Singleton halted the verification program and as a result, foreign nationals and illegal immigrants haven’t had to prove they live in New Mexico since the beginning of this month. Based on the size and volume of her campaign contributions, Judge Sarah Singleton is easily the most partisan Democrat judge in the entire judiciary system. According to David Collins of New Mexico Watchdog, Singleton tops the list of campaign contributors amongst all judges. Here is an excerpt from a piece Collins wrote recently regarding the extent of the Singleton contributions:
With $47,517 in contributions, Singleton’s tally of campaign giving nearly doubles that of the runner-up, 2nd Judicial District Judge Alan Malott, who was a prolific contributor before he was appointed to the bench. Selected in 2009, Singleton was enrobed in early 2010 upon the retirement of Judge Jim Hall. The month before her selection was announced, Singleton donated $500 each to the election campaigns of appeals court justices Tim Garcia, Linda Vanzi and Robert Robles. Each of those justices might be someday be called to hear appeals in cases Singleton decides in the district court. (Robles retired June 1 after he pleaded guilty in March to a charge of drunken driving, a charge which had led to his suspension from the court.)
Singleton donated a total of $5,520 to Democrat candidates in the year she was under consideration for a judicial appointment. The prior year – an election year – she contributed even more heavily, giving a total of $18,500 to national Democrat candidates and party funds. In 2007, she gave $750 to Richardson’s presidential campaign. Since taking the bench, Singleton has continued to make campaign donations – $250 to then Lt. Gov. Dianne Denish’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 2010, $250 to Attorney General Gary King’s congressional campaign, $400 to the state Democratic Party and $250 to 2nd Judicial District Judge Shannon Bacon’s campaign. Last year, while serving as a district judge, Singleton donated $250 to Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia’s election funds.
Singleton has so far heard civil and family cases which more often than not don’t tend to involve testimony from sheriff’s deputies. Her 2009 appointment was not Singleton’s first time at bat in the judicial selection process. Richardson earlier that year appointed Judge Sheri Raphaelson when he could’ve chosen Singleton. The District Nominating Commission first forwarded only Raphaelson’s name to the governor’s office, but Richardson wanted more choices. The commission came back with three names, including Singleton’s. Singleton won her appointment later that year.
In a profession where impartiality and objectivity are the pillars of the process should judges make contributions to such a wide array of candidates that would seem to be woven into the very fabrics of many legal disputes in our state? In New Mexico they do and Singleton does more than any other judge.



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