FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF CURRY COUNTY Drew D. Tatum,
H. Balderas, Attorney General Santa Fe, NM Lauren J.
Wolongevicz, Assistant Attorney General Albuquerque, NM for
Bennett J. Baur, Chief Public Defender Santa Fe, NM Steven J.
Forsberg, Assistant Appellate Defender Albuquerque, NM for
Defendant Arthur Martinez appeals from the district
court's order denying his motion to dismiss. The central
issue on appeal is whether Defendant's two convictions
entered by the magistrate court should stand, given a
conflict between- on the one side, the jury foreperson's
announcement of guilt on both counts, the result of the jury
poll generally affirming the jury foreperson's
announcement, and signed "guilty" verdict forms-and
on the other side, signed "not guilty" verdict
forms. Concluding that the inconsistency in the verdict forms
was the product of a clerical error that the magistrate
properly corrected and that Defendant was not exposed to
double jeopardy, as argued, we affirm.
Defendant was charged with two misdemeanor crimes: driving
with a suspended license and driving without insurance. This
appeal stems from an irregularity in Defendant's trial,
which was conducted in magistrate court.
Because the magistrate court is not of record, knowledge of
what happened at Defendant's trial is limited;
nevertheless, both parties submit the following. After the
jury deliberated, the jury foreperson announced that the jury
found Defendant guilty on both counts. During the jury poll
that followed the announcement, each juror assented to the
verdict. Of note, however, the court did not poll the jurors
specifically as to each count. The court then discharged the
jury. After the jury left, the magistrate court noticed that
the foreperson had signed both the "guilty" verdict
form and the "not guilty" verdict form associated
with each count. The court responded to the inconsistency by
setting a hearing on the issue.
The record provides additional information about what
happened next. The magistrate court filed the
"guilty" verdict forms with the clerk on the day of
trial. The "not guilty" verdict forms were made
part of the record with a note attached to each with the
words "Foreperson signed in error." It is not clear
who wrote or attached the notes, nor when they were attached.
Meanwhile, also on the day of trial, the court prepared a
notice to send to the jury foreperson requiring his
attendance at the hearing. The notice stated that the
requirement to attend was "due to a clerical error with
the [v]erdict paperwork at the trial[.]" At the
conclusion of that hearing, which likewise was not recorded,
the magistrate court (1) found that the jury verdict was
valid as announced; and (2) entered a judgment of guilt as to
Defendant then appealed the judgment to the district court
and moved to dismiss the charges, alleging that his right to
be free from double jeopardy was violated "by the . . .
[m]agistrate [c]ourt's decision to allow the verdict to
stand." Following a hearing on the matter, the district
court entered an order denying Defendant's motion;
included in the order were factual findings. Defendant next
entered into a conditional plea allowing him to seek relief
from his convictions. Defendant now appeals the district
We first establish the standard we use to review the district
court's order. We review de novo the conclusions of law
underlying the denial of Defendant's motion to dismiss.
See State v. Baca, 2015-NMSC-021, ¶ 25, 352
P.3d 1151. To the extent that those conclusions are based on
the court's findings stated in the order, we review the
findings under a deferential substantial evidence standard.
See id. Under that standard, "we will not weigh
the evidence or substitute our judgment for that of the
[district]court, and all reasonable inferences supporting the
fact findings will be accepted even if some evidence may have
supported a contrary finding." State v.
Rodriguez, 2006-NMSC-018, ¶ 3, 139 N.M. 450, 134
P.3d 737 (citation omitted).
The question before us is whether the district court erred in
concluding that, based on what happened in magistrate court,
the entry of Defendant's convictions was proper.
Defendant's claims to the district court and now on
appeal all arise from the fact that the "not
guilty" verdict forms were signed. Defendant treats the
signed forms as an acquittal and, in so doing, contends both
that the magistrate court subjected him to double jeopardy by
recording the guilty verdict and also that any retrial of the
charges against him would constitute double jeopardy. In
contrast, the State treats the signatures on the "not
guilty" verdict forms as clerical error that the
magistrate court was allowed to, and did, correct.
We share the State's view that the signing of the
"not guilty" verdict forms was clerical error that
the magistrate court could correct, and we disagree with
Defendant that the signed "guilty" verdict forms