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Supreme Court

Tribunal Supremo

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(from left to right) Justice Barbara J. Vigil, Justice Petra Jimenez Maes, Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura, Justice Charles W. Daniels, Justice Gary L. Clingman

Justice Charles W. Daniels

Justice Charles W. Daniels

Justice Charles Daniels was initially appointed to the Supreme Court in October 2007 on recommendation of the nonpartisan Judicial Nominating Commission. He was unopposed in the 2008 primary and general elections and was elected to continue in the position. He was selected by his fellow Justices to serve as Chief Justice from April 7, 2010 to April 4, 2012, and a second time from April 11, 2016, to June 7, 2017.

Born in Arkansas, he has been a New Mexico resident since childhood. After graduating from high school, he served five years on active duty in the United States Air Force, receiving an Honorable Discharge in 1966.

Justice Daniels received his bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, where he was a member of the intercollegiate debate team and graduated magna cum laude; his law degree from the University of New Mexico, where he was editor-in-chief of the law review, won a position on the national moot court team and graduated first in his class; and a master of laws degree in trial advocacy from Georgetown University, where he was selected to be a Prettyman Fellow.

During his 38 years as a lawyer before being appointed to the Court, Justice Daniels combined frequent classroom teaching, primarily at the UNM School of Law, with an active courtroom practice in a wide range of civil and criminal cases. He served as chair of the Supreme Court's Evidence and Uniform Jury Instructions committees and as a member of its lawyer Disciplinary Board. He has been honored by the Albuquerque Bar Association with its Outstanding Lawyer of the Year award, by the New Mexico Bar Association with its Quality of Life award, and by the Roscoe Pound Foundation with its National Trial Advocacy Teacher of the Year award. He was the 2018 recipient of the New Mexico Bar’s Seth D. Montgomery Distinguished Judicial Service Award.

Justice Daniels and his wife, attorney and author Randi McGinn, have four grown daughters, four grandsons, and three granddaughters. For relaxation, he plays bass guitar in a blues-rock band and is a recreational race car driver.

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