New Mexico Court of Appeals
You might remember the three main branches of government—legislative, executive and judicial—from your high school civics class. But do you remember the levels of the judicial system?
Although government structures differ from state to state and between the state and federal levels of government, the organization of the judicial branch generally has three levels:
- District Courts
- Appellate Courts
- Supreme Court
New Mexico’s judicial system is tiered this way. Criminal and civil cases are first concluded in one of thirteen district courts. Most cases that are further contested are brought before the New Mexico Court of Appeals. This court has jurisdiction over the entire state of New Mexico. If a Court of Appeals decision is further appealed, it is brought before the New Mexico Supreme Court.
The ten New Mexico Court of Appeals judges are each aided by a paralegal and a law clerk. There is also a staff of attorneys who make up the Pre-Hearing Division.
The New Mexico Court of Appeals has two offices—in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Three judges are headquartered in Santa Fe while the remaining seven serve in Albuquerque.
Over 1,000 cases are brought before the New Mexico Court of Appeals each year. The majority of these cases are criminal. For this reason, it is beneficial for appellate judges to have criminal law experience before their appointment or election to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
Governor Susana Martinez appointed Judge J. Miles Hanisee to the New Mexico Court of Appeals in July 2011. He brings to the bench nearly twenty years of experience with the judicial system as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. He hopes to continue his service to the citizens of New Mexico by winning the statewide judicial elections on November 6, 2012.