KUNM

Brent Earnest

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.

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In an ongoing, decades-long conflict about whether public assistance in New Mexico is available to people who need it most, a federal judge has recommended that the Human Services Department secretary be found in contempt of court.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

For the first time since allegations surfaced that state employees falsify food stamps applications, New Mexicans heard testimony from public officials Thursday.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

  A federal court hearing on whether New Mexico is fit to process applications for food stamps and Medicaid is set to wrap up on Wednesday, July 6. Top brass from the state Human Services Department are expected to testify in response to allegations from employees that applications for emergency food aid were falsified to avoid missing deadlines.

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Court proceedings were paused in a hearing about the slow processing of food stamps applications last week when it seemed like a former state employee could incriminate herself.  A supervisor was set to answer questions about falsified applications when the judge asked if she wanted an attorney of her own.