On Tuesday, December 26, 2023, The Las Cruces Bulletin reported that Mark Standridge resigned from his position as judge for the Third Judicial District Court in Doña Ana County on November 15, 2023. His resignation was the result of questions raised about the nepotism policy for New Mexico courts.
Standridge’s wife has worked as an attorney for the court system for 16 years. However, a rule implemented by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) prohibits judges and their family members from working at the same courthouse, citing concerns about potential favoritism. The AOC said Standridge’s wife would need to transfer to a different court, such as in Alamogordo.
Standridge chose to resign from his position as district judge rather than ask his wife to leave her long-time job. In an interview, he stated his overriding concern was not pushing his wife out of her job just to remain a judge. This resignation leaves a vacancy in the Third Judicial District Court as it works through a significant case backlog.
The process to fill the open judge position has commenced. On January 12, 2024, the Third Judicial District Court Judicial Nominating Commission will interview four candidates to replace Standridge. These include former prosecutor Phyl Bean, Magistrate Court Judge Rebecca Duffin, District Court attorney Isabel Jerabek, and former Magistrate Judge Jeanne Quintero. The nominee will then be sent to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to appoint a new district judge.
Source: The Las Cruces Bulletin