Updated March 17 at 2:14 p.m.
Taos attorney Sara Blankenhorn has been appointed as the new judge in Taos Magistrate Court, the Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham confirmed on Monday (March 16).
Blankenhorn, who has worked as a contract attorney for Community Against Violence and a research and writing associate for Natelson Law Firm in Taos, succeeds Jeff Shannon, who was appointed to the bench in Taos District Court in December after seven and a half years of service working alongside Magistrate Judge Ernest Ortega.
The governor selected Blankenhorn, who is the daughter of Taos County District IV Commissioner Tom Blankenhorn, from five other applicants: veteran prosecutor Tim Hasson of the 8th Judicial District Attorney's Office, former Taos state police commander Edwardo Martinez, Taos District Court staff attorney Angela Macdonald, Taos County District I Commissioner Jim Fambro and Charlene Tsoodle-Marcus, the program director for Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council.
Martinez, Macdonald, Tsoodle-Marcus and Fambro will challenge Blankenhorn in this year's county election, according to the Taos County Clerk's Office.
"I am greatly honored by governor Lujan Grisham's appointment as well as the support I have received from colleagues, associates, and community members," Blankenhorn said in a statement Tuesday (March 17). "I look forward to proving myself to the community as a hardworking judge with the integrity and legal experience needed to serve you well. I am eager to hit the ground running and assist Judge Ortega as soon as possible as the courts continue to provide essential functions during this time of upheaval. Finally, it has been a real pleasure to interact with my opponents in this race thus far; there has been much professionalism, courtesy, and even camaraderie in a time that is otherwise characterized by deep political divisiveness."
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