EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Catherine Begaye’s name.
Seven new judges joined the 2nd Judicial District Court in January, including six who were appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Two of the seven were appointed to newly created positions in the Children’s Court, according to a news release.
The Children’s Court appointees are Catherine Begaye, who is a member of the Navajo Nation and is the state’s only Native American district judge, and Alma Roberson, a former attorney in the Law Offices of the Public Defender’s Juvenile Division.
Four were appointed to the Criminal Division: Bruce Fox, who most recently was the chief judge for Laguna Pueblo; Britt Baca-Miller, a public defender in Albuquerque since 2013; Joseph Montaño, who spent the past 10 years as a prosecutor for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque; and Jennifer Wernersbach, who has practiced as a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer for 16 years.
The seventh new judge is Courtney Weaks, a Democrat, who beat sitting Judge Daniel Gallegos, a Republican, in the November general election. She is a former Metropolitan Court judge.
Two other openings occurred when Judges Christina P. Argyres and Jacqueline Flores did not receive enough votes in the general election to be retained.
Also, Judges Cristina Jaramillo and Charles Brown retired from the criminal bench at the end of 2020.