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Judge Finds HSD Secretary In Contempt Of Court

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

A U.S. District Court judge has found the Human Services Department secretary in contempt of court after hearings this summer when state employees testified that they were instructed to falsify food stamps applications.

This is part of the settlement of a case about the accessibility of food stamps and Medicaid in New Mexico.

Judge Kenneth Gonzales said in his order that the overall direction of the case in the last few years has been troubling. He said the department has not complied with court orders about delivering benefits or notices to people who’ve applied for them. The judge also wrote that HSD officials have failed to exercise "leadership, control and managerial oversight." 

An independent third-party expert will be hired to advise HSD and report to the court.


FULL TEXT of the order and opinion

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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