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Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court


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The Honorable Joshua J. Sánchez elected Chief Judge of the Metropolitan Court

April 12, 2023           

The nineteen Judges of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court have elected the Honorable Joshua J. Sánchez as the next Chief Judge of the court. His three-year term will begin on May 15, 2023.

Judge Sánchez will succeed Judge Maria I. Dominguez, who has served as Chief Judge of the court since August 2020. Judge Michelle Castillo Dowler will remain the Presiding Judge over the court’s Criminal Division, and Judge Frank A. Sedillo will remain the court’s Presiding Civil Division Judge.

In addition to hearing court cases, the Chief Judge serves as the administrative authority over personnel, budgets and general operations of the Metropolitan Court.

“It’s an honor to be selected to lead the busiest court in the state, where our dedicated judges and staff work tirelessly to ensure that timely access to justice is equally afforded to all,” said newly-elected Chief Judge Sánchez.

Judge Sánchez was appointed to the Metropolitan Court in March of 2021 by Governor Lujan Grisham and later won election unopposed. Judge Sánchez has served in the Felony and Criminal Divisions of the court and currently presides over the Behavioral Health Specialty Court. He has also volunteered as a judge with the Gene Franchini NM High School Mock Trial Program for a number of years.

“Judge Sánchez’s proven leadership and strong rapport amongst fellow judges, staff and justice partners makes him a great fit as our next Chief, and I am confident that his experience and energy will continue to drive our court forward,” said current Chief Judge Maria I. Dominguez.

Prior to serving on the bench, Judge Sánchez worked in private practice for nearly 15 years, specializing in criminal, juvenile, domestic relations, civil and probate law. He also held a contract with the Law Offices of the Public Defender taking on thousands of misdemeanor, felony and juvenile cases.

While in law school at the University of New Mexico, Judge Sánchez served as a law clerk for both the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque and the Thirteenth Judicial District Court in Los Lunas.

He attended UNM for his undergraduate studies, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Communications in 2002. Judge Sánchez is a proud graduate of Belen High School.