New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Patricio Serna, a former 11-year State District Judge in Santa Fe, announced Friday he’ll be stepping down from the bench at the end of August.
He served on the First Judicial District bench in Santa Fe from 1985 through 1996.
Obviously this will be a big political issue for this state moving forward as debates will brew over who will be chosen to replace Serna.
For now, here is the news release sent out Friday by the Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court of New Mexico announced today that Justice Patricio M. Serna will retire at midnight on August 31, 2012. Born in the small town of Reserve, New Mexico, Justice Serna was the first of his eight siblings to graduate from college. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande, graduating with honors in 1962. Justice Serna earned his Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Denver School of Law and was the first Hispanic member of the Denver Law Journal. Justice Serna also earned a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Denver School of Law.
After earning his Master of Laws degree from Harvard, Justice Serna moved to Washington, D.C., to become Special Assistant to Commissioner R. Telles of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While in Washington, D.C., Justice Serna also taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School and Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America, where he taught courses in constitutional law. In 1975, Justice Serna returned to New Mexico and served as an assistant attorney general for four years and then worked in private practice for about six years. In 1985, Justice Serna was appointed by then-Governor Toney Anaya to serve as a District Court Judge for the First Judicial District in Santa Fe. Justice Serna served for over 11 years as a district judge, from 1985 until 1996, and his service included a term as Chief Judge of the First Judicial District Court and as President of the New Mexico District Judges Association.
Justice Serna was elected to serve on the New Mexico Supreme Court in 1996, and was sworn into office on December 5, 1996. Five years later, Justice Serna was elected by his colleagues on the Court to serve a two-year term from 2001 through 2002 as Chief Justice. In addition to authoring and participating in hundreds of decisions during his almost 16 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Serna also serves as the Court’s liaison to the Board of Bar Examiners, the Tribal-State Judicial Consortium, and the Court Interpreters Advisory Committee.