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Monday, May 17, 2010

Disciplinary Panel Asks NM Supreme Court to Immediately Suspend Dennis W. Montoya From Practicing Law

DennisWMontoya Another nail in the coffin of the candidacy of Dennis W. Montoya for New Mexico Court of Appeals has just been revealed -- and he now might have his authority to practice law suspended. Montoya is challenging current Appeals Court Judge Linda Vanzi in the June 1 Democratic primary. 

Late Friday, it was revealed that the state's Disciplinary Board has asked the New Mexico Supreme Court to suspend Montoya from practicing law due to nine more serious complaints being investigated by the panel. Earlier this month, it was reported that the Disciplinary Board charged Montoya with multiple acts of professional misconduct. Last month, Montoya was disqualified from receiving public funding for his campaign. The complaints are piling up.

In the latest filing, Chief Disciplinary Counsel Virginia L. Ferrara wrote that,

"Nine serious complaints against one attorney in the space of two months is highly unusual and led disciplinary counsel to fear that the continued practice of law by respondent could present a danger to the public and to the integrity of the legal system."

Click to see the complete Petition for Summary Suspension and Motion for Order to Show Cause (pdf).

According to an article in the Albuquerque Journal on the latest complaints, Montoya didn't return the paper's phone calls on Friday. However:

His campaign manager, Santiago Juarez, said Montoya was "confused" and "hurt" by Friday's filing. "Extraordinary measures are being taken against Mr. Montoya in this campaign," Juarez said.

Yeah, why is everybody always picking on Montoya? Does Montoya's campaign really expect us to believe that there's a conspiracy against him by judges from the federal bench to the district bench, as well as by clients? The complaints are much too widespread and well-documented to even consider such a notion.

Some of the latest complains were made by a state district judge and a probation office related to Montoya's behavior at a hearing on April 21:

According to the petition filed Friday, Montoya "went on a tirade implying that if his client were a 'white guy' the proceeding would not have been brought by the assistant district attorney and the probation officer and insinuating that they were racists and against the Hispanic community."

Other recent complaints were filed by clients for whom Montoya was handling a vehicle forfeiture case and by a health provider who complained about difficulty getting payment following settlement of a case in which Montoya represented a patient.

Montoya is also now being investgated for five more instances of alleged misconduct in U.S. District Court:

• A June 2007 order by U.S. District Judge James A. Parker assessing $6,448.50 in fees against Montoya for needlessly prolonging litigation for two years after summary judgment was entered for the defendants.

• An August 2009 order by U.S. District Judge Judith C. Herrera granting summary judgment to a defendant because Montoya had misrepresented that the plaintiff was in an age group protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and had misleadingly altered the deposition testimony of a defense witness.

• A June 2009 dismissal of a lawsuit by U.S. District Judge Bruce Black because Montoya had not filed a timely administrative appeal of his client's termination by Kirtland Air Force Base and therefore the client couldn't sue in federal court.

• An April 2009 order by U.S. District Judge William "Chip" Johnson remanding a case to an Arizona court because Montoya, representing the defendant, had improperly removed the case to New Mexico. The plaintiff was awarded fees and costs of $12,426 against Montoya personally as a sanction for his conduct.

• A June 2009 order by Black dismissing a claim that Montoya's client had been improperly terminated from a federal job because the claim was filed 29 days after the deadline.

May 17, 2010 at 11:34 AM in 2010 Judicial Races, Legal Issues | Permalink


I understand why Santiago Juarez is confused and hurt. Montoya hasn't paid him yet, at least according to Montoya's (which look like a complete crock, BTW). Montoya must have really pulled the wool over Juarez's eyes. Too bad that public financing thing didn't work out for you, lol.

The "extraordinary measures" Mr. Juarez refers to are people whom Montoya harmed coming forth to tell the truth, standing up for themselves and the public good. Ironically, some of these complaints might not have been filed had Mr. Montoya not spitefully chosen to run for the Court of Appeals. Sociopaths shouldn't run for public office, though I'm sure Dennis Montoya isn't the first to have done so.

I love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning!

Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 17, 2010 1:27:45 PM

Does Montoya have any dignity at all? Any other lawyer would withdraw from this race but Montoya stays in and keeps spreading lies about his opponent too. God forbid this man ever gets near a judicial bench except for being charged with being a shameful example of a bad lawyer.

Posted by: Esq. | May 17, 2010 1:41:38 PM

I almost feel sorry for Montoya. It sounds like he is having mental problems. I've never ever heard of a judicial candidate acting this way over and over again. He is either a megalomaniac or suffers from mental illness. Does he think he can get away with this?

Posted by: manolaw | May 17, 2010 2:30:15 PM

@Esq. and manolaw: I believe Montoya is a sociopath. He really believes all his actions are perfectly justified because the only real person from his perspective is himself. Others are only caricatures in his personal drama.

Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 18, 2010 11:14:15 AM

Dennis Montoya fought tirelessly to save my wife's job when the federal government tried to fire her for whistleblowing. Montoya is a good man and a good attorney.

It's not unusual for trashy clients to file complaints against their lawyers when they don't get the millions they dream of in in their self-deluded fantasies. The complaints against Montoya were disregarded by the disciplinary committee until Vanzi abused her power as judge to get the complaints active again just in time for her campaign.

Linda Vanzi is waging a campaign of hate and smear against Dennis Montoya with the help of the Richardson machine and corporate law firms that groomed her for this position.

If I was in a courtroom I would rather have as judge the guy who fought for my wife's rights over the Richardson appointee any day. Why don't you guys stop being such cowards and post under your real names?

Posted by: Steve Morrow | May 26, 2010 7:28:21 AM

Even the worst criminals have done some good things in their lives.

Montoya has done many bad things. In addition he is not qualified to be an Appeals Court judge. He has no experience as a judge.

Posted by: Esq. | May 26, 2010 9:07:43 AM