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Governor picks local attorney Stephen Wayne as new Aztec Magistrate Court judge

No date had been scheduled for the new judge to be sworn in

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Aug. 19 appointed Stephen Wayne as the new judge for the Division Six of the San Juan County Magistrate Court.
  • Wayne is taking over for former judge Sharer, who retired from the bench on June 30, just weeks before his death on July 26.
  • Wayne grew up in Farmington, Michigan and graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan with a bachelor's degree in sociology.

FARMINGTON — An area attorney who most recently worked for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Family Department has been appointed by the governor to replace the late Aztec Magistrate Court Judge Barry Sharer.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Aug. 19 appointed Stephen Wayne as the new judge for Division Six of the San Juan County Magistrate Court, according to a governor's office press release.

Wayne is taking over for Sharer, who retired from the bench on June 30, just weeks before his death on July 26.

Sharer was first elected to the court in 2008 and ran unopposed during each election before retiring, according to The Daily Times archives.

"Getting selected is a real honor and it's a real honor to serve the people of the county," Wayne said.

Stephen Wayne

Wayne grew up in Farmington, Michigan, and graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, with a bachelor's degree in sociology. He then earned a juris doctorate from Wayne State Law School.

While earning his bachelor's degree, he was a placekicker for the Wayne State Warriors football team.

Stephen Wayne is married to City of Farmington Deputy City Attorney Ellen Wayne, and the couple have two young daughters.

He worked as a public defender in Kentucky for three years before moving to San Juan County.

Wayne sought out an area that would have good access to outdoor activities including camping and hiking.

He worked for the New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender in the Aztec office from 2012 to September 2019.

Wayne then moved to the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department as a senior children’s court attorney.

Serving and protecting the community led him to work at CYFD and as a public defender, Wayne said.

As an incoming judge, he hopes to serve residents by putting his legal experience to use to protect the rights of individuals.

Wayne described the magistrate courts as the "people's court" where the stakes are a little lower than state district court.

He stated magistrate judges oversees civil cases, including evictions, and criminal cases, including felony cases before being bound over to state district court.

A date for Wayne to be sworn in as judge was not scheduled as of the afternoon of Aug. 20.

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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