I have always wanted to put myself in a position to make a positive difference in other people’s lives and within my community. So when I first entered the work force I pursued jobs where I felt like I could help people. This included working as a counselor at a residential treatment facility for foster care child with emotional difficulties. I also worked as a pretrial services officer, assisting judges in determining whether Defendants could be released on their own recognizance. While I felt successful in helping people at these jobs, without an advanced degree I felt limited in my ability to help people, and limited in my ability to make larger structural improvements at the places where I worked. This is what motivated me to go to law school. After law school I worked as an attorney in a number of settings, but didn’t reach the career fulfillment I was striving for until I moved to Albuquerque to work as a prosecutor. I started at the office in the domestic violence division, and I’ve spent the majority of career prosecuting cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault, and crimes against children. I found great fulfillment in helping to protect some of our most vulnerable victims in our community escape the cycle of abuse. Now, after over fourteen years as an attorney and ten years at the District Attorney’s Office, I still strive to be in a position to make the greatest difference in people’s lives and to help improve our community. I believe that becoming a judge will afford me the greatest opportunity to continue accomplishing these goals by helping the victims of crime, those accused of crimes, and by finding ways to improve our criminal justice system.

As a judge I will accomplish my goals by working diligently to make sure that the rights of Defendants are protected and that every case I handle receives the attention it deserves. I will also bring a number of ideas for improvement to the Metropolitan Court. These ideas come from my years of practice, where I have been able to see what has and hasn’t worked. I look forward to coordinating with other justice partners to implement these improvements so that our system works better for everyone involved and accomplishes the goals of rehabilitation, community safety, fairness, and equality.

I will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the bench that make me well suited for the position. The duties of a Metropolitan Criminal Court Judge include handling all level of misdemeanor cases, reviewing search and arrest warrants relating to serious felony allegations, and specifically for this position, presiding over a docket of felony preliminary examinations. During my prosecutorial career I have represented the State in all of these types of settings. I am familiar with and have prosecuted every type of case on a Metropolitan Court docket. These include traffic infractions, DWIs, domestic violence charges, and officer prosecuted misdemeanors. I have taught a class in officer prosecution at the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office Cadet Academy. I have tried cases in Metropolitan Court, represented the State at custody arraignments, worked with detectives in reviewing felony warrants, and presented cases for preliminary examination.

I believe it’s important to emphasize my work with preliminary examinations. This is because the Metropolitan Court has already determined that the judge that is selected for this position will be handling a docket that is exclusively felony preliminary examinations. For background, felony preliminary examinations are on the record hearings in felony matters where witnesses are presented and the rules of evidence apply. They are like mini-trials, after which a judge determines whether there’s probable cause that the allegations occurred, and if so the case is brought over to District Court. During my time as a prosecutor I have screened and presented hundreds of cases for preliminary examination. I have supervised attorneys who are preparing cases for preliminary examinations, helped with charging recommendations and witness preparation, and taught continuing legal education classes on laws and procedures related to preliminary examinations. Therefore, I am very well prepared for the job of presiding over these hearings and will be able to hit the ground running in this docket.

It’s also important to realize that preliminary examinations play a larger role in our criminal justice process. They are the starting point for the vast majority of felony cases in Albuquerque. Right now our criminal justice system in Albuquerque is facing a huge problem. Because of the COVID global pandemic, there is a backlog of felony cases in District Court that haven’t been resolved. This has resulted in too many people being incarcerated for years under unfavorable conditions while awaiting trial. It’s also caused large numbers of people to be released with minimal supervision and support while their cases are pending resolution. This has impacted our public safety. Our District Court has worked diligently to decrease this backlog, but they can’t do it alone. To decrease the backlog we need to decrease the flow of new felony cases into District Court. That’s why it’s imperative that the judge selected for this Metropolitan Court preliminary examination docket have ideas on how to accomplish this. I believe I have those ideas and the ability to effectuate them. As a judge I’d like to better utilize the diversionary courts and develop new programs so that cases can be resolved on the misdemeanor level. This will allow those Defendants to receive the treatment they need without facing the collateral consequences of felony convictions. Additionally, I will work to better coordinate with the District Court on cases that are close to resolution, so that if cases are brought over to District Court they can be resolved in a matter of days, instead of the months and years that it’s now taking for them to be resolved.

Although my knowledge and experience will aid me in accomplishing the goal of decreasing our backlog and improving our criminal justice system, these changes can’t be made unilaterally. The judge chosen for this position needs to be able to work well with other justice partners, like the defense bar, the District Court, law enforcement, and the District Attorney’s Office. It will take a coordinated effort to implement these changes. I believe my demeanor and temperament are well suited to lead this coordination. I am known for being a fair and understanding prosecutor. None of the jury trials I have represented the State at have become overly contentious. My adversaries will say that I am reasonable and easy to work with, and my colleagues will say that I am knowledgeable and hardworking. I have built a reputation as someone who is fair and reasonable in both the Metropolitan and District Courts in Albuquerque. I believe this ability to work well with others, including my adversaries, will help me when trying to bring together justice partners who often have competing interests.

In sum, I know that my experience, vision for change, and ability to work with others to implement that change make me the perfect candidate for this Metropolitan Court judgeship. I look forward to discussing these issues and listening to your concerns and interests during this selection process, and hope that you come to the same conclusion about my candidacy.

Thank you.