By Mike Linn
PORTALES — Magistrate Judge Jane Martin relaxed at her desk after work last week and noted that her job is not just a black-robed affair filled with weekday gavel pounding and sentencing of lawbreakers.
In fact, Martin said she is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week — in her home, sometimes even when she’s on vacation.
She answers 3 a.m. wake-up calls to approve warrants on probation violators, sporadically checks her home fax machine, and talks with family members of those in jail over the weekend.
“Sometimes I get rocking along for a couple of weeks without getting (late night) calls,” Martin said. “Then sometimes it’s more frequent, and sometimes I don’t get back to sleep.”
These are some of the duties of Roosevelt County’s magistrate judge, who considers herself fair on criminals and tough on repeat offenders.
Martin’s jurisdiction includes traffic, civil and misdemeanor criminal cases in Roosevelt County.
“I dislike seeing the same people in my court over and over,” Martin said. “I’ll give you chances and if you don’t avail yourself, then yeah, I am tough.”
Martin, who is on her second four-year term as judge, worked several years as a secretary for the district attorney’s office, then worked as a clerk under former Magistrate Judge Jesse Porter before getting elected to the position in 1998 after Porter retired. She has yet to earn a college degree, but said she is looking forward to the day it happens.
Martin, who is married to a farmer and livestock owner, hopes to run again after the end of her term in 2006.
Larry Boreing, magistrate probation officer for misdemeanor offenders, confirmed Martin’s self-description of being a fair judge.
“She puts on a good show as to being tough, but I’ve never known her to be out of line with anyone,” Boreing said.
Boreing is oftentimes the one asking police dispatch to make those early morning calls to Martin’s house. He calls seeking warrants for clients violating probation.
“She’s called day and night, weekends, holidays; her phone rings constantly,” Boreing said. “She probably sleeps very lightly.”
The two act as a one-two punch against crime in the area.
Boreing retired as an adult probation officer in Clovis before returning to the field.
He said girlfriends, wives and husbands of probationers are the one’s who typically call him on clients who are violating.
Like Martin, Boreing also works late into the night, sometimes going to local bars near closing time after getting tips that his clients may be drinking there.
“Winding up in jail is something you really have to work at,” Boreing said. “It’s not just you do one silly thing and you’re hammered.”