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Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

Tribunal Metropolitano del Condado de Bernalillo

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The Honorable Maria Dominguez presides over the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court's Outreach Court Program. 

The program is a collaborative effort between the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, the Office of the District Attorney, the Law Offices of the Public Defender, the Private Defense Bar, the Bernalillo County Attorney’s Office and
community providers. This court will follow the American Bar Association’s (ABA) seven
guiding principles for Homeless Courts and will model itself after the San Diego Homeless
Court. This model is based around local community service providers being the gateway for
participants to enter into the program voluntarily. Outreach Court is a specialty court program
aimed at a segment of the population that has limited means of complying with conditions of the
court, and faces challenges in obtaining legal representation. As a result, misdemeanor charges
are often ignored until the defendant is incarcerated. Outreach Court is unique from all other
specialty courts as it is designed to work with individuals already engaged with treatment
providers and give them an opportunity to resolve outstanding misdemeanor cases and warrants.
This is accomplished by collaborating with community providers that are already providing
services to these individuals.

Outreach Court provides a progressive diversionary program, allowing alternative resolutions in
lieu of custody, fines, and fees for most misdemeanor charges. Participants may engage in life
skills activities, substance abuse group meetings, literacy classes, and training, or search for
employment, counseling, and programming aimed at improving their situations under the
guidance of their community provider. The court acknowledges these endeavors in order to
satisfy the courts’ requirements.

The prospective participants are referred to court staff to determine eligibility by their
community advocate. If approved for participation, court staff will notify all involved parties.
The participant will work with their client advocate at their chosen program to design a plan to
move towards self-sufficiency prior to appearing in court. This initiative shows a participant’s
willingness to seek justice and to reconcile their past by their continued efforts to reclaim their
future. Providers will write letters of advocacy on behalf of the participant and their efforts in the
program. This is symbolic of the relationship between the client and the program, and outlines
their accomplishments, providing the court with insight into their efforts. The court will review
the letter of advocacy and determine the graduation time of the participant to be held at a
community provider’s location.

Outreach court enables homeless and precariously housed individuals who are actively engaged
in the program to address their outstanding legal obligations, freeing them to reclaim their lives
and return to the community as valued members.

Contact: 

Martin Burkhart
Program Manager 
841-8181
 
Tiffany Archuleta
Clerk 
841-8142