Meet the Candidates

Amanda Sanchez Villalobos (I)

Amanda Sanchez Villalobos (I)

Age: 40

Occupation: District Court Judge, District 13, Division 4 (Cibola County)

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Political Science (UNM 2002); Juris Doctor (UNM School of Law, 2005)

Previous elected political offices: None

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or in another state? “No.”

1. Why are you running to become the next district court judge?

“I have been an attorney for nearly 15 years, and have demonstrated that I am qualified and dedicated to serving our community. In May 2019, the governor appointed me as the sole district court judge in my hometown (Grants), and I would be honored to continue in this role.”

2. What in your education and/or experience makes you the most qualified to adjudicate both criminal and civil cases?

“Currently, I am a general jurisdiction judge. Previously, I have prosecuted criminal cases in district, metropolitan, magistrate, and municipal courts; practiced civil law at the Rodey Law Firm (business and litigation); and worked on criminal and civil appeals at the New Mexico Supreme Court and New Mexico Court of Appeals.

3. What can a district court judge do to reduce the criminal recidivism rate?

“Consistency and fairness are critical to reducing recidivism. As a district court judge, I hold defendants accountable for their criminal convictions, while treating them with respect, and encouraging them to make better decisions in the future. Accountability may include incarceration, probation, and/or treatment programs depending on the circumstances.”

4. In criminal cases, what criteria would you consider while determining a sentence?

“Sentencing decisions, as all decisions, should be guided by the law to achieve a fair, impartial and unbiased resolution. In making these decisions, I apply the law to the facts, consider the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and consider statements by victims and the defendants.”

James A. Noel (I)

James A. Noel (I)

Age: 58

Occupation: District Court Judge, 13th Judicial District Court, Sandoval County, Div. 5

Education: BA Political Science and Anthropology, Indiana University; MBA, International Business, Indiana University; JD, University of New Mexico School of Law

Previous elected political offices: None

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or in another state? “No.”

1. Why are you running to become the next district court judge?

“I have spent much my career in public service. I was honored to be appointed to the bench by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. I see no higher calling of public service in the legal community than to serve as a trial judge.”

2. What in your education and/or experience makes you the most qualified to adjudicate both criminal and civil cases?

“As a private practitioner, I handled a range of civil matters. As a government attorney, I handled both administrative and criminal prosecutions. My broad knowledge of the law and courts makes me uniquely qualified to serve as a general jurisdiction trial judge.”

3. What can a district court judge do to reduce the criminal recidivism rate?

“The causes of criminal conduct are complex. Poverty, substance abuse and income disparity can relate to criminal behavior. These factors can disproportionally affect populations within society, including veterans. Understanding these variables and identifying individuals who are responsive to treatment programs and alternatives to incarceration has been shown to reduce recidivism.”

4. In criminal cases, what criteria would you consider while determining a sentence?

“I would apply the law and sentencing guidelines impartially, and on a case-by-case basis. There are a range of factors to consider, including aggravating and mitigating circumstances, a defendant’s criminal history and victim statements, among others.”

Chris Perez (D)
Elected 13th Judicial District Court Judge

Chris G. Perez (I)

Age: 48

Occupation: 13th Judicial District Judge, Div. 7

Education: Law degree

Previous elected political offices: None

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or in another state? “No.”

1. Why are you running to become the next district court judge?

“After practicing as an attorney for the last 23 years, serving a variety of clients in the 13th district, I feel I could best continue to serve the community as a district judge.”

2. What in your education and/or experience makes you the most qualified to adjudicate both criminal and civil cases?

“For the entire 23 years I have been a general practice attorney, I have represented clients in civil, criminal, municipal and some aspects of domestic relations law. I feel my general practice experience has trained me to be a judge in a court of general jurisdiction such as the 13th district.”

3. What can a district court judge do to reduce the criminal recidivism rate?

“I will hopefully be in a better position to answer this question once I have more experience on the bench. However, the effective use of the resources and programs available to defendants within the district to assist them in overcoming the underlying reasons for their conduct would be a good start to lowering the recidivism rate.”

4. In criminal cases, what criteria would you consider while determining a sentence?

“On a case by case basis, I would consider as many factors as are relevant to that case. Some of those would be nature of the crime committed, statements from the victims, any mitigating or aggravating factors or testimony, and the defendant’s criminal history.”

2020 Primary Election Voter Information

Absentee in-person voting

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, from Tuesday, May 5 through Friday, May 29; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, May 30

Where: Valencia County Administration Building, 444 Luna Ave., in Los Lunas

Early voting

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, from Saturday, May 16, through Saturday, May 30

Where:

• Belen Community Center, 305 Eagle Lane, Belen

• Bosque Farms Public Library, 1455 W. Bosque Loop, Bosque Farms

• Valencia County Administration Building, 444 Luna Ave., in Los Lunas

Election Day Voting Convenience Centers

When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 2

Where:

• Belen Community Center, 305 Eagle Lane, Belen

• Bosque Farms Public Library, 1455 W. Bosque Loop, Bosque Farms

• Del Rio Senior Center, 351 Rio Communities Blvd., Rio Communities

• Manzano Vista Fire Department, 311 El Cerro Mission Road, Los Lunas

• Pueblo of Isleta Veterans Center, 4001 N.M. 314, Isleta

• Valencia County Administration Offices, 444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.