Q&A: New Mexico Court of Appeals Position Two Candidate Shammara H. Henderson
- NAME: Shammara H. Henderson
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: New Mexico Court of Appeals judge
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I am currently a judge on the New Mexico Court of Appeals and actively doing the work on behalf of the state of New Mexico since my appointment by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. I have extensive experience as an attorney working all sides in both criminal and civil matters. I am a former federal and state prosecutor as well as criminal defense lawyer. I am a former civil plaintiffs’ lawyer with a practice in civil rights, employment law, and personal injury. I also defended the United States in civil cases when I was an Assistant United States Attorney years ago under the Obama administration. I have done substantive hearings, trials, and appeals in both federal and state courts. I clerked in the New Mexico Supreme Court for the Honorable Charles W. Daniels where I learned how to write opinions. I have the experience to understand how important the work of this court is in directly impacting the people of New Mexico.
- EDUCATION: American University, B.S. in political science and philosophy; University of New Mexico School of Law, JD
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: keepjudgehenderson.com
- MAJOR PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT: I am honored to be New Mexico’s first Black appellate judge, but I also consider one of my major professional accomplishments to be the reputation I have gained as always representing my clients well as a fair and honest attorney. I am proud that as a prosecutor, I have had some significant sentences that have ensured victims received justice and our community was safe. I am also proud, though, that I have a record of working with many defendants to recover and ensure they received the treatment to find a path to a productive life. I am proud that my work, and my work ethic, has been intentional. This has made certain that while opposing attorneys may disagree with me on a case, they knew that I would always be ethical, fair, and trusted. I have taken that same sense of responsibility to the court in the work I do every day.
- MAJOR PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT: Like so many fellow New Mexicans, being a first-generation college and law school graduate in my family, brings my family and me great pride. Often the only Black person in the room, being a woman, and usually the youngest, drove my passion to change the face of our legal system. I am proud of my career and reputation I have developed for being fair, honest, and committed to justice. I am proud that I have been able to use my life experiences to mentor and uplift other young people, teach at the UNM Law School, and participate in community groups to try and make our state an even better place than it already is.
Why are you running and what strengths would you bring to the judiciary?
A position on New Mexico’s judiciary is a high honor with a critical responsibility to the citizens of our state. I am running to continue serving the residents in this position because of my deep commitment to ensure the laws are applied fairly and justly in every single case that comes before the courts. Throughout my career, I have gained the knowledge and experience that this role requires: multiple trials; motion hearings; appellate work in state and federal courts; and representing all sides through my career in both criminal and civil matters. My experience allows me a unique perspective that is critical for this job. I also have a passion for the law and how the legal system makes our community a better place. As a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer and a judge someday. That passion, ingrained in me since childhood, for making our world a more just place is what drives me every day to represent the citizens of our great state.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state?