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District Court Judge Eighth Judicial District Division 02

New Mexico’s 33 counties are divided into 13 judicial districts. These are courts of general jurisdiction that hold jury trials in the following types of civil cases: tort, contract, real property rights and estate contests. District courts generally have exclusive jurisdiction over domestic relations, mental health, appeals for administrative agencies and lower courts, criminal appeals, and juvenile cases. Must be at least 35 years old, have practiced law for at least six years, and reside in the district from which elected. Six-year term.Judicial vacancies are filled through appointment by the Governor from a list of nominees submitted by a judicial nominating committee. At the next regular election the judicial position is filled in a partisan election in which the appointed judge must participate and win the most votes to retain the seat. Judges serve for terms of a set number of years, after which they must win a 57% “yes” in retention elections to keep their seats.

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    Steven Anthony Romero

Biographical Information

1. Have you been recommended by the Judicial Nominating Commission?

2. What qualifies you for this position?

3. What alternatives to incarceration do you support for nonviolent crimes?

4. What can be done to reduce backlogs of court cases?

Occupation Judge
Yes. I was recommended by the Judicial Nominating Commission in the Summer of 2023.
I am very grateful to have been appointed to the bench in September of 2023 and to have the opportunity to serve my community in this capacity. Since being appointed, I have relied on my broad experience as an attorney in the State Court, Federal Court, and the Military. The experience that has proven most invaluable since my appointment, however, is my familiarity with the community. Having been raised in Colfax County, I understand the communities in the Eight Judicial District and rural New Mexico. This perspective makes me uniquely qualified to continue to serve in this position.
I currently serve as the Drug Court Judge for Colfax/Union Counties. This treatment court is uniquely tailored to provide services for people that are facing criminal charges due to addiction. I am very hopeful that we can build on the foundation laid by Judge Kenelly to initiate a behavioral health treatment court, as well. Drug addiction and behavioral health issues serve as catalysts for a high percentage of cases in the criminal justice system. For individuals entering the criminal justice system on nonviolent charges, the court can incorporate specific treatment regiments to reduce recidivism and change the outcomes for individuals before addiction or behavioral health problems lead them to more serious offenses that hurt others.
We have roughly 22 weeks reserved for jury trials each year and 30 reserved for other types of hearings as required. There are over 300 criminal and civil cases filed in Colfax and Union District Court every year. The volume of cases filed relative to the docket space requires efficient management. For criminal cases, our district implemented a rule in 2023 that provides more structure for case management. I am optimistic that we can leverage the requirements in this rule to ensure that cases are dealt with fairly and efficiently. With civil cases, I plan to use virtual options to increase access to justice and the courts. In providing flexible access, parties will have opportunities to be heard so that cases can proceed efficiently.