NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Even before the COVID pandemic, New Mexico courts were busy. But after 2020 brought a host of rules including indoor capacity limits, virtually every court throughout the state found itself with a backlog of cases waiting for a hearing while new ones kept adding on.

While New Mexico dropped most of its pandemic limits in July 2021, the state’s judicial system is still playing catch up. Both criminal cases and civil cases are months behind their pre-pandemic outlook, putting a lot of pressure on defendants and the attorneys representing them.


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Imagine sitting in on a criminal case, only to find out the key witness can’t testify because of COVID. Or, imagine waiting 10 months for a decision in a lawsuit. Both of those situations have occurred in some of the court cases represented by this week’s guests on the New Mexico News Podcast.

Hosts Chris McKee and Gabrielle Burkhart recently spoke to attorneys who’re continuing to fight through the court case backlog. Jennifer Barela and Douglas Wilber from the New Mexico Law Office of the Public Defender offer their perspectives this week. Wilber is a supervising attorney in the Public Defenders Office while Barela is the Albuquerque District Defender. A New Mexico civil attorney specializing in personal injury and employment law, Deena Buchanan also joins the conversation.

The New Mexico News Podcast is a weekly podcast from KRQE with new episodes available every Tuesday. Episodes are available for download on most popular platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcherand Podbean among others.

To find the show on your favorite podcast player, type “KRQE News” or “New Mexico News Podcast” into the search feature. Use the links above to find the podcast on each respective service, or listen to the audio player below.

If you have a question, comment, or suggestion for the podcast, let us know! Email the hosts at chris.mckee@krqe.com or gabrielle.burkhart@krqe.com.