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2nd District needs to fill 2 vacant judge positions

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Changes are coming to the Second District Courthouse.

Criminal division judge Kenneth Martinez has taken an official leave of absence for an undetermined period, according to court Executive Greg Ireland. As with previous instances where judges had to be away from their positions for a period of time, other judges will step in to cover motions, trials and necessary hearings.

No new cases will be assigned to Martinez’s division, he said. Ireland did not give a reason for the leave.

Retired Judge Neil Candelaria has been working as a pro tem judge handling probation violations and may take up some of the slack.


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Meanwhile, the court has two immediate vacancies to fill because of the retirement of Ross Sanchez, the longest-serving judge currently on the 2nd District bench, and the creation and funding of a new civil judge position by the Legislature.

Sanchez served as a Metropolitan Court judge for two years before being appointed to the district court bench in 1985.

Judge Alisa Hadfield, a former domestic violence commissioner who has been handling the domestic violence caseload in Family Court, is moving to fill Sanchez’s spot in the criminal division. That means the vacancy to be filled is in her previous slot in the Family Court division.

Seven attorneys filed applications for the Civil Division judgeship: Stephen P. Curtis, Nancy Franchini, Ned Fuller, Steven Gonzales, Christina Jaramillo, Charles Lakins and Frank Sedillo. Jaramillo and Sedillo are Metropolitan Court judges.

There were seven applicants by the Wednesday deadline for the Domestic Violence Division slot: Joshua Boone, Merrie Chappell, Nancy Colella, Jane Conway Levy, Lynn Perls, Debra Ramirez and Elizabeth Owens Rourke.

Interviews for all candidates will take place June 20 at the 2nd District courthouse. Civil division interviews will be at 8:30 a.m. Interviews for the domestic violence post will begin about 12:30 p.m.

The interviews are open to the public. Persons who wish to comment are asked to be present at the start of the meeting.

Another vacancy occurs with the retirement of Chief Judge Ted Baca effective July 1. And a new selection round begins.