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'Justice stations' on Navajo Nation aimed at making court access easier


New Mexico officials are setting up “justice stations” in the northwestern part of the state including on the Navajo Nation, in order to help people access state courts without traveling as far.

State officials said Monday that newly installed judicial outposts provide virtual access to magistrate court hearings. Each of the stations has a computer allowing people to appear remotely in a hearing conducted by one of the magistrate courts in San Juan or McKinley counties.

“By using a justice station, people can conduct business with a state court when they have no internet connection at their homes or lack reliable cellular phone service,” Eleventh Judicial District Chief Judge Curtis Gurley said in a statement. “The justice stations offer more convenience for people who otherwise would need to go to Gallup, Farmington or Aztec for a court hearing.”

The stations can be used for traffic cases and pretrial hearings in misdemeanor and civil cases in those magistrate courts, which make up the Eleventh Judicial District.

The stations can't be used for domestic violence cases in the district.

Two justice stations are at Navajo Nation chapter houses, including Rock Springs, northwest of Gallup, and Beclabito, west of Shiprock. There's also a station at the Octavia Fellin Public Library in Gallup.