Two candidates compete for New Mexico Supreme Court seat

Both candidates ran unopposed in the June 2 primary election

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Justice C. Shannon Bacon, Democrat, was appointed to the New Mexico Supreme Court Division 1 position on Jan. 25, 2019 by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
  • Ned Fuller is the Republican candidate running against Justice Bacon .
  • Both candidates were state district court judges as Bacon served for nearly nine years in the Second Judicial District.

FARMINGTON — A judge appointed to the New Mexico Supreme Court in early 2019 is running in her first election for the highest court in the state as she faces a challenger who is a deputy district attorney.

Justice C. Shannon Bacon, the Democratic Party candidate, was appointed to the New Mexico Supreme Court Division 1 position on Jan. 25, 2019 by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

She is on the ballot for the Nov. 3 general election against Republican Party candidate Ned Fuller, who is a deputy district attorney for the Eleventh Judicial District Attorney's Office, which covers McKinley and San Juan counties.

Both candidates ran unopposed in the June 2 primary election.

New Mexico Supreme Court Justice C. Shannon Bacon

Bacon previously served in Bernalillo County district court

Bacon earned her law degree at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and was a partner at the Sutin, Thayer and Brown, P.A. and Eaves, Bardacke, Baugh, Kierst and Larson, P.A. law firms.

Bacon served as a district court judge for the Second Judicial District for about nine years before being appointed to the state Supreme Court.

She also served as the Bernalillo County Water and Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Judge.

Bacon told The Daily Times she really enjoyed her time as a district court judge for Bernalillo County and believes it was important to serve as a trial court judge before serving on an appellate court.

She also had a "pretty significant" administration role in district court, which she said helps her out on the Supreme Court as it oversees the state court system and the State Bar of New Mexico.

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For Bacon, the biggest learning curve of joining the state Supreme Court was collaborating with her fellow judges while rendering legal decisions.

As a district court judge, Bacon rendered decisions on her own.

Bacon said it was a big learning curve in emergency management to help keep state courts open as the coronavirus pandemic flared up earlier this year.

That work including getting the infrastructure in place to hold court hearings remotely and pausing all jury trials.

Bacon said she brings a wealth of legal experience to the New Mexico Supreme Court after serving in a private practice and as a state court judge, giving her insight into how the judiciary works.

Ned Fuller

Fuller served on Second Judicial District bench

Fuller earned his Juris Doctorate from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

He was previously appointed as a district court judge to the Second Judicial District in 2014 by former Governor Susana Martinez. He lost the election later that year and stepped down from the bench.

Fuller has more than 26 years of law experience in fields like workers compensation, civil rights and contract matters along with prosecuting accused defendants in the district attorney's office.

He also was appointed as the acting Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico General Services Department under former Gov. Martinez.

Fuller strongly believes a judge should uphold the constitution and the law, but not rewrite the law.

When talking about what he would bring to the state Supreme Court, Fuller said he wants to balance the rights of the accused with ensuring the safety of the community.

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He believes prosecutors and criminal attorneys should have more time to prepare for certain criminal hearings including those held to keep a defendant without bond in the county jail as they await trial.

Defendants detained at a county jail have 10 days to hold such hearings.

Fuller could see some hearings being consolidated to help streamline the court system as some hearings tend to overlap each other.

A hearing to hold a defendant without bond covers a lot of same arguments heard during a preliminary hearing in magistrate court and time could be saved by holding both at the same time, according to Fuller.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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