Judge J. Miles Hanisee was appointed to the New Mexico Court of Appeals on July 29, 2011. But his law career has given him even more extensive experience with the judicial system at the state and federal levels.
While still a student at Pepperdine University School of Law, Judge Hanisee earned an externship with Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. There he first developed the interest in appellate law that has persisted through his career. Following law school, his appellate judicial service continued when he was selected to be a law clerk to Judges Oliver Seth and Paul Kelly, both of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. In his career, Judge Hanisee has handled dozens of cases in courts of appeal in and outside of New Mexico, both writing and arguing to the panels of judges that decide them, and achieving victories that both contributed to the interpretation of laws and protected victims and the community by upholding jury determinations in criminal cases. Most importantly, as an appellate judge for the past year Judge Hanisee has written or participated in dozens of cases. His judicial opinions are an important part of the Court of Appeals jurisprudence during the past year.
Extensive Trial Experience
While the careers of many lawyers do not involve courtroom appearances, as an Assistant United States Attorney Judge Hanisee has been part of numerous trials, prosecuting criminals on behalf of the federal government. For eleven years, Judge Hanisee worked with victims of violent crime to bring perpetrators to justice, fighting against defenses that would let wrongdoers dodge accountability. During his tenure as an Assistant United States Attorney, Judge Hanisee secured the first pre-9/11 federal indictment for Acts of Terrorism Transcending National Boundaries, based upon an effort by a Canadian citizen to blow up the Trans-Alaskan pipeline. As well, he was lead counsel in the first federal case tried outside of a federal courtroom, and on an Indian Reservation, in Shiprock, New Mexico. He was also lead counsel in a cold case trial, and the ensuing appeal, where DNA evidence resulted in the identification and conviction of a man who murdered a sixteen-year-old Navajo female.
Experience trying criminal cases is important for any Court of Appeals judge, as the majority of cases brought before the state appellate court are criminal cases. To fully appreciate what it means to review and resolve cases and the implications of those decisions on crime victims and the larger public, a Court of Appeals judge needs to have been through the process. Judge Hanisee has.
Judge Hanisee has also been on the opposite side of the courtroom as a private practice defense attorney for four years. The Law Office of J. Miles Hanisee, LLC represented individual and corporate clients in both criminal and civil cases at the state and federal levels.
Participating in the judicial process as both a prosecutor and defense lawyer gives Judge J. Miles Hanisee balanced experience. His understanding of both sides of each case and his familiarity with the trial process allow him a unique perspective as he impartially considers each case brought to the appellate level. As well, Judge Hanisee’s civil experience in courtrooms, mediation and motion practice further adds to the balance that makes him uniquely uniquely suitable for the position he was appointed to.