GALLUP – Newly installed “justice stations” on the Navajo Nation and communities in northwestern New Mexico provide virtual access to magistrate court hearings, lessening the need for people to travel to a courthouse.
The justice stations allow the public to use an easy-to-navigate computer to appear remotely in a hearing conducted by one of the magistrate courts in San Juan and McKinley counties, such as in a case involving a traffic violation.
Justice stations are available for use at the Rock Springs Chapter House, the Beclabito Chapter House, Octavia Fellin Public Library in Gallup, and the Gallup Magistrate Court. They also will be in place by the end of December at the Aztec Public Library, the Bloomfield Public Library, the Farmington Public Library, and the People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) shelter in Farmington.
“By using a justice station, people can conduct business with a state court when they have no internet connection at their homes or lack reliable cellular phone service,” said Eleventh Judicial District Chief Judge Curtis Gurley. “The justice stations offer more convenience for people who otherwise would need to go to Gallup, Farmington or Aztec for a court hearing.”
State Supreme Court Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon said the justice stations represent another initiative by courts to use technology to meet the needs of New Mexicans with legal issues.
“Justice stations expand access to the justice system to enable people to protect their rights and advocate for their interests if they have a legal problem,” said Chief Justice Bacon.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, New Mexico courts have increasingly conducted hearings online through video conferencing platforms rather than requiring the parties to appear in person at a courthouse.