Legal Memorandum: Writ of Superintending Control in NM

Issue: Under New Mexico law, can the New Mexico Supreme Court issue a writ of superintending control where a trial court has prohibited extra-judicial comments?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Writ of superintending control; Supreme court; Secrecy
Jurisdiction: New Mexico
Cited Cases: 428 P.2d 473; 384 U.S. 333
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 09/01/2014

The New Mexico Supreme Court has noted that secrecy in litigation is at odds with Anglo-American tradition and that, “[t]he principle that justice cannot survive behind walls of silence has long been reflected in the ‘Anglo-American distrust for secret trials.”  Twohig v. Blackmer, 121 N.M. 746, 749 (1996) (quoting Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333, 349, (1966)).  Thus, even in the preliminary stages of litigation a writ of superintending control is appropriate where necessary to correct a trial court’s unwarranted order allowing litigation to be conducted under a cloak of secrecy.  See id. (Court issued writ of superintending control to vacate pre-trial district court order prohibiting litigation participants from making extrajudicial comments to any public media on substantive aspects of case); see also State ex rel. Townsend v. Court of Appeals, 78 N.M. 71, 74, 428 P.2d 473, 476 (1967) (Supreme Court may exercise power of superintending control “even when there is a remedy by appeal, where it is deemed to be in the public interest to settle the question involved at the earliest moment.”).


Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)