The Third Judicial District Court is a state court of general jurisdiction located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Court encompasses the same geographic area as Dona Ana County. It is bordered by the Twelfth Judicial District (Otero and Lincoln Counties), the Sixth Judicial District (Luna, Grant and Hildago Counties) and the Seventh Judicial District (Sierra, Catron and Socorro Counties). See a map of the state Judicial Districts.
The Court has jurisdiction over criminal cases, domestic relations (divorce, child support and custody, domestic violence), probate cases, children's court (abuse and neglect of children, juvenile delinquency, adoptions) and all general civil cases (auto accidents, contract disputes, real property disputes, violation of civil rights). There are eight District Court Judges, one Child Support Hearing Officer and one part-time Domestic Violence Special Commissioner, who hear cases. Please see the Judges page for more information.
Chief Judge James T. Martin is the Administrative Authority of the Court. He is assisted by the Court Executive Officer, who is the Clerk of the Court.
Mission of the Court
The Third Judicial District Court has two related but distinct functions:
First: The Court delivers speedy, accurate, impartial, and legally correct decisions and judgments to resolve legal disputes between and among individuals, private organizations, business entities, and State and local government.
The Court carries out this core constitutional function through a variety of means including jury trials, bench trials, treatment Court programs, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution.
The Court strives for accessibility to all persons and entities whether represented by counsel or pro se (where that is authorized) while adhering closely to the principles of due process and equal protection of the law.
Second: The Court maintains current, accurate and readily accessible records of every case brought before it. Such records are maintained with strict adherence to the statutes and Court rules that govern the creation and maintenance of such public and nonpublic records.
Finally: In all that it does, the Court makes efficient use of all public resources provided to it by the citizens and residents of the State of New Mexico and is accountable at all times to the public through its representatives for the use of those resources.
Courthouse Security and Protocol
All persons entering the Third Judicial District Courthouse are subject to security screenings. No weapons of any kind (including penknives on key chains) are permitted in the building. Cell phones may be permitted in the Courtroom but must remain off or set to vibrate. Phones ringing in courtrooms may be seized by security personnel and may not be returned immediately.
Parties are expected to act and dress appropriately in Court. Short shorts, tank tops, ball caps and sunglasses should not be worn in the Courtroom. Parties should refrain from chewing gum while their case is being litigated. Use of tobacco products is prohibited inside the Courthouse.