Marty Chavez Eric Griego

| Main | 5/13: Albuquerque ANSWER Protest to Stop Police Brutality Now »

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Negotiated Agreement: Attorney Dennis Montoya Suspended for Year for 3 Pending Disciplinary Actions

Images According to an Albuquerque Journal article, Rio Rancho attorney Dennis Montoya has agreed to a one-year suspension from the practice of law in a negotiated settlement over three pending disciplinary actions before the New Mexico Supreme Court:

The charges included misrepresentations, knowingly made false statements to the court and failure to account for funds received from settlements in a wrongful death lawsuit in state court, and complaints by federal judges about his handling of cases there.

As outlined by Chief Disciplinary Counsel Bill Slease, the agreement says Montoya will be permitted to reapply for admission to the bar after a year, but will be subject to oversight for three years by a supervising attorney if he is readmitted. Montoya paid almost $6,000 for the costs of the investigation.

Montoya unsuccessfully challenged Judge Linda Vanzi in last year's Democratic primary race for the New Mexico Court of Appeals Position 2 seat, losing by a margin of about 55% to 45%. The allegations of multiple acts of professional misconduct by Montoya made by the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico became a heated issue in the campaign. In addition, Montoya was disqualified from receiving public funding for his campaign for violating several rules governing such funding.

In the recent NM Supreme Court hearing, Montoya claimed his misconduct was the result of a heavy work load:

In a polite but sometimes tense exchange with the court, Montoya said the problems he encountered, particularly with judges in federal court, were the result of overwork.

... Addressing the court, Montoya said, “What happened with me was the result of overwork, more than anything else.” He said he had taken on too many cases in a solo practice despite health problems to support his young and growing family.

One Justice was reluctant to accept that explanation:

Justice Richard Bosson questioned whether caseload was really the only problem.

“One impression I have is Mr. Montoya has a tendency to blame others for his own problems, I guess a human enough trait, and ascribe to others ill motives — racial motives, ethnic motives, discriminatory motives, they’re-coming-to-get-me motives, personal animus — when really it’s his own shortcomings that’s the cause of the problem,” Bosson said. “So I’m asking you again, has he accepted responsibility for this long, sorry affair?”

Montoya's attorney responded:

“I believe he has,” Vigil told the court. “I’ve had many discussions and he understands the buck stops with him, and you can’t blame staff or anyone else for how matters turned out.”

 The Chief Justice stressed how serious the charges were:

The court approved the agreement, though Chief Justice Charles Daniels told Montoya, “This came very close to a disbarment case — very close.”

May 12, 2011 at 12:23 AM in 2010 Judicial Races, Legal Issues | Permalink


The scumbag should have been disbarred. Permanently.

Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 12, 2011 11:18:25 AM