Free legal services available in area

By Tova Fruchtman:Quay County Sun

The director of a state agency that gives free legal aid to low-income New Mexico residents came to Tucumcari Wednesday as part of an outreach 16 counties in the state.

Kathleen Brockel said last year Legal Access New Mexico had 5,500 cases but only 33 were from Tucumcari.

The program offers a help line designed to give low income New Mexico residents free legal advice in civil cases.

While in Tucumcari Brockel met with the library officials, the community action agency, the bar association, and the center for domestic violence.

They can assist people up to 200 percent of the poverty guideline who live in New Mexico and have a New Mexico problem.

They are funded by New Mexico Legal Services Commission.

“The advantage of talking to a lawyer is going to be complying with the law.”

Brockel said that they would like to help as many people as possible each month.

“Our main goal in our outreach effort is to contact people in institutions that come in contact with low income people with legal problems.”

“If you think you have a legal problem you should call,” Brockel said.

She said calling the hotline can give people peace of mind.

“I think the big advantage about calling the hotline is we can tell you what your real problem is,” she said.

Since Law Access New Mexico doesn’t get federal funds they are not restricted from helping people without citizen status.

“As long as they live in New Mexico its okay,” Brockel said.
Magistrate Judge Edwin Bruhn said he thought Brockel’s presentation to the area Bar Association was excellent.

“I thought it was very good for the program that’s there. It will help people in civil court,” he said.

He said they see a lot of people in poverty at the magistrate court, and on civil cases the city cannot assign attorneys.

“There’s a lot of people who get in situations they can’t get out of.”

Law Access New Mexico is a program that intends to offer people a legal way out.

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