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Supreme Court of New Mexico

June 13, 2000

IN THE MATTER OF BEATRICE R. VIGIL, Probate Judge, Taos County, New Mexico. INQUIRY CONCERNING A JUDGE NO. 99-04.

         DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

          Peg A. Holguin, Chief Counsel Randall D. Roybal, Chief Staff Attorney Albuquerque, New Mexico For Judicial Standards Commission

          Hon. Beatrice R. Vigil Taos, New Mexico

          FORMAL REPRIMAND

          PER CURIAM.

         This matter came before the Court upon recommendation of the Judicial Standards Commission to approve a plea and stipulation agreement entered into between the commission and Honorable Beatrice R. Vigil, in which she be formally reprimanded, be suspended for two weeks without pay, be placed on supervised probation for six months, be ordered to pay off her outstanding gross receipts tax liabilities to the State of Mexico and her outstanding photocopy bill liabilities to Taos County within six months, and be ordered to cease all use of the facilities or equipment of the Taos County Probate Court for her private business activities and/or other non-judicial use.

         The commission issued a notice of preliminary investigation to respondent on November 8, 1999. Respondent failed to respond to the notice of preliminary investigation. After completing the preliminary investigation, the commission issued a notice of formal proceedings to respondent on March 6, 2000. On April 28, 2000, respondent and the commission entered into a plea and stipulation agreement in which respondent stipulated to the factual and legal conclusions, and agreed to receive discipline from this Court. On May 10, 2000, the commission filed a verified petition for discipline. The stipulated factual and legal conclusions are set forth below.

         Respondent willfully failed to timely file gross receipts tax reports with and/or willfully failed to timely pay gross receipts taxes to the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999 for and concerning gross receipts from respondent's private business activities.

         Respondent's conduct violates the following Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct: 21-100 NMRA (1995), 21-200(A) NMRA (1995), 21-300(B)(2) NMRA (1995), and 21-500(A) NMRA (1995). Such conduct constitutes willful misconduct in office.

         Respondent willfully failed to timely file personal income tax returns with the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue in 1995, 1997, and 1998. Respondent willfully failed to timely pay the income tax due to the State of New Mexico for tax year 1997.

         Respondent's conduct violates the following Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct: 21-100 NMRA (1995), 21-200(A) NMRA (1995), 21-300(B)(2) NMRA (1995), and 21-500(A) NMRA (1995). Such conduct constitutes willful misconduct in office.

         Respondent used the facilities and equipment of the Taos County Probate Court for respondent's private business activities and/or other non-judicial business.

         Respondent's conduct violates the following Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct: 21-100 NMRA (1995), 21-200(A) NMRA (1995), 21-300(B)(2) NMRA (1995), and 21-500(A) NMRA (1995). Such conduct constitutes willful misconduct in office.

         Respondent willfully failed to timely pay Taos County for approximately $1, 155.95 of private business (non-judicial) copying charges incurred at the County Clerk's Office. Due to the length of non-payment and the amount past due, the Taos County Clerk terminated respondent's copying privileges in July 1997. The Clerk later agreed to set up a second copying account for respondent wherein respondent would pay off the original past due balance on the first account and would be responsible for paying off the balance in full each month on the second account. Respondent, however, failed to make payment on the original account until July 1, 1998. On July 1, 1998 respondent wrote a check for $500.00 as a payment on the original outstanding balance, which check was returned for insufficient funds. About a month later, respondent provided the Taos County Treasurer's Office with a cashier's check in the amount of $500.00. However, respondent willfully failed to pay on the account balance thereafter and approximately $655.00 is still owed and past due on the original account. With respect to the second account (the account to be paid off monthly), respondent became late and willfully failed to pay on this account since December 1, 1999. Approximately $55.95 is still owed and past due on this account.

         Respondent's conduct violates the following Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct: 21-100 NMRA (1995), 21-200(A) NMRA (1995), 21-300(B)(2) NMRA (1995), and 21-500(A) and (D)(1)(a) NMRA ...


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