NM Executive Order 2011-36 | NNA
Law

NM Executive Order 2011-36

Notary Law Update: NM Executive Order 2011-36

State: New Mexico

Summary:

Executive Order 2011-36 revises the process for administering and adjudicating formal complaints of misconduct against a New Mexico Notary Public, in light of a high-profile case of Notary misconduct, and repeals Executive Order 2004-02.

Signed:  June 02, 2011

Effective:  June 02, 2011

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

Procedure for administrative action taken against the commission of New Mexico Notaries Public; rescinds Executive Order 2004-02 Errant Notary Public

Changes:
  1. Clarifies that all complaints against Notaries must be filed with the office of Secretary of State.
  2. Creates a new Notary Compliance and Enforcement Unit within the Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD).
  3. Directs the Secretary of State to forward a complaint against a Notary, along with the Notary’s application, to the Notary Compliance investigations unit at the Regulation and Licensing Department and a copy to the Governor’s Legal Department. (Note: previous Executive Order 2004-02 directed all complaints against Notaries for review and action to the New Mexico Attorney General.)
  4. Provides that the RLD investigations division shall conduct a thorough review of the allegations made against a Notary and finalize a formal law enforcement report, which will be sent to the Notary, the Governor’s Legal Department and the Secretary of State.
  5. Provides three forms of disciplinary action that may be imposed upon a Notary: (a) a written reprimand; (b) formal warning; or (c) notice of contemplated action. Any action taken against a Notary shall become part of the Notary’s file housed with the Secretary of State.
  6. Directs that only one written reprimand shall be permitted for a complaint or complaints against a Notary, whether the complaints are related or unrelated. The next violation will automatically result in a formal warning. The RLD shall issue only one formal warning to a Notary. On the next violation, a notice of contemplated action will be issued.
  7. Clarifies that the issuance of a notice of contemplated action gives formal notice that the Governor, through the RLD, is pursuing revocation proceedings.
  8. Provides that a notice of contemplated action shall give the Notary the opportunity to voluntarily resign his or her commission and detail the process and rights afforded in an administrative hearing.
  9. Clarifies that any complaint with an accompanying criminal investigation will automatically result in a notice of contemplated action and the Notary shall face full revocation proceedings.
  10. that failure to respond to the notice of contemplated action within the time provide in the notice amounts to a waiver to a contested hearing and the Governor shall revoke the Notary’s commission.
  11. Directs that if a Notary exercises his or her right to a hearing, the administrative proceeding shall follow the normal procedures established by the RLD.
  12. Directs that if in a hearing the hearing officer finds the Notary committed misconduct, the opinion will be forwarded to the Governor’s office with a recommendation to revoke the commission.
  13. Rescinds Executive Order 2004-02 Errant Notary Public.
Analysis:

As a result of a high-profile case involving an Albuquerque Notary allegedly involved in a $30,000-per day heroin call-in and delivery service that has been characterized by law enforcement as an operation with the efficiency of a major pizza chain, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez issued Executive Order 2011-36. In New Mexico, the Governor is granted authority to revoke the commissions of Notaries Public for cause. Governor Martinez’s Order rescinds a prior Executive Order issued in 2004 by then-Governor Bill Richardson directing complaints against Notaries to be investigated and adjudicated by the New Mexico Attorney General. In her new Order, Governor Martinez directs a new Notary Compliance and Enforcement Unit formed within the Regulation and Licensing Department to handle complaints against Notaries and outlines the process for handling these complaints.

Read the text of the Executive Order.

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