Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court welcomes a new judge this month.

Joshua J. Sanchez
Appointed to the bench

Joshua J. Sánchez will take the bench on March 15 after being appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. He fills the vacancy created when Judge Courtney Weaks was elected to the 2nd Judicial District Court last year.

Metro Court spokeswoman Camille Baca said Sánchez previously worked at the Law Offices of Michael S. Sanchez, his father’s Los Lunas firm, for almost 15 years where he specialized in criminal, juvenile, domestic relations, civil and probate law. She said, since 2007, Sánchez was contracted with the Law Offices of the Public Defender and worked thousands of misdemeanor, felony and juvenile cases.

“Judge Sánchez knows what it’s like to handle a large caseload, making him a great fit for the Metropolitan Court,” Chief Judge Maria I. Dominguez said in a news release. “As the busiest court in the state, our judges are assigned an average of three to four thousand new cases each year.”

Sánchez, of Rio Communities, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of New Mexico before attending law school there. He served as a clerk for the 2nd Judicial District Court and the 13th Judicial District Court in Los Lunas while attending law school.

“In his free time, Judge Sánchez enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, taking in a L.A. Dodgers game and snowboarding atop New Mexico’s grandest mountain peaks,” the release says.

Sanchez, who unsuccessfully ran for a judgeship in the 13th Judicial District Court Division 3 in 2015, isn’t the first judge in his family. His wife, Heather Benavidez, served as the municipal judge in Rio Communities for seven years before being appointed to the magistrate court last year. She left the bench after an unsuccessful campaign in November.

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Matthew Reisen, Journal Staff Writer