New Mexico Court of Appeals Legal Opinions
At the appellate level of the New Mexico judicial system, cases are not tried. There are no witnesses on the stand, lawyers making objections or judges shouting, “Overruled!” as they bang the gavel. Instead, judges decide cases that have been appealed from the district court level, usually in the chambers of their Santa Fe or Albuquerque offices. There’s no media coverage or court recorder to give a detailed accounting of what went on, so the public may not always be able to understand the reasoning behind an appellate determination. That’s why New Mexico Court of Appeals judges write legal opinions announcing the decisions of each case.
Legal opinions explain the rationale for the ruling and often establish precedent for future cases. They are usually written by the judge leading the assigned three-member panel. Other panel judges may concur with or dissent from the ruling. The written legal opinions acknowledge the views of all panelists.
Legal opinions are matters of public record, so official opinions of the New Mexico Court of Appeals are published on the New Mexico Supreme Court website. Because there are several editing and authentication steps involved in digital publication, unofficial opinions (slip opinions) are published more quickly on the New Mexico Court of Appeals website.
Judge Hanisee’s Opinions
The best measure of an appellate judge’s qualifications is the opinions he or she writes on behalf of the court. To date, Judge Hanisee has written on a wide range of legal topics, including homicide, DWI, property rights, tribal jurisdiction, protection of workers under the Worker’s Compensation Act, and parental rights.
- Jackson Construction vs. Smith
- Dethlefsen vs. Weddle
- Rodriguez, Aguilar, Rodriguez, Terrazas, Enriquez and Trujillo vs. Del Sol Shopping Center
- Hinkle vs. Abeita
- State vs. AFSCME (dissenting)
- Pecos River Open Spaces vs. San Miguel County
- Yurcic vs. City of Gallup
- Kimbrell vs. Kimbrell
- Holzem vs. Presbyterian
- Tierra vs. Village of Ruidoso
- New Mexico Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors vs. Turner
- Slusser vs. Vantage Builders
- Potter vs. Pierce
From these legal opinions, Judge Hanisee’s committment to reviewing each case independently can be found. His clear committment to the United States and New Mexico Constitutions, as well as rights and privileges expressly stated in the laws and statutes of New Mexico and its agencies, are clearly expressed through his written work on behalf of the court.