Santa Fe, NM: Prosecutors and staff from around the state gathered last week in Ruidoso for their annual spring training conference, which was sponsored by the New Mexico Administrative Office of the
District Attorneys. Attorneys attended tracks depending on skill level, with new prosecutors having two
full days of core skills training, while experienced prosecutors listened to presentations on advanced
topics. Both groups had training on using modern technology in trial practice, discovery, and ethical
issues. Investigative and Support Staff attended presentations on domestic violence and trauma,
enhancing skills in office computer programs, workplace management, child abuse and neglect, and
alternative dispute resolution.
At the conclusion of the week, statewide awards were given to state prosecutors and staff members of
district attorney offices throughout the state.
New Mexico's top prosecutor award went to 9th District Attorney Matt Chandler for "New Mexico
Prosecutor of the Year." This award is given annually and goes to one prosecutor in New Mexico that has
brought credit to the New Mexico District Attorneys' Association by achieving success both in and out of
the courtroom, and is nominated and voted upon by prosecutors from throughout New Mexico. Past
recipients include former Third Judicial District Attorney (Dona Ana County) and current NM Governor
Susana Martinez and Second Judicial District Attorney (Bernalillo County) Kari Brandenburg. Governor
Susana Martinez stated, "This award is the highest honor a state prosecutor can receive, and District
Attorney Chandler is well deserving of the recognition. His passion, ethics and professionalism are to be
admired, and our state as a whole is a safer place because of his efforts and achievements as a
In other categories, Yvette Gurule of the 13th DA's Office received Employee of the Year. Legislator of
the Year awards went to Senator Howie Morales and Representative Kikki Saavedra. The other NMDAA
2011 staff awards are as follows: Investigator of the Year 3rd DA Office Investigative Unit - Kip
Scarborough, Larry Palos and Ruben Barreras; Special Programs Employee of the Year 11th – I DA -
Dean Beck; Support Staff Employee of the Year resulted in a tie 2nd DA - Virginia Padilla and 11th – I DA
- Starla Heth; Administrative Employee of the Year resulted in another tie 6th DA - Mary Battle and 12th
DA - Joan Whiteley. The other NMDAA 2011 Prosecutor awards are as follows: Junior Prosecutor of
the Year 5th DA - Emily Maher; Community Service Prosecutor of the Year 5th DA - Patrick Melvin;
Senior Prosecutor of the Year 7th DA - Bruce Burwell and the "Wayne Jordan" Jurisprudence Award 11th
– I DA - Paul Wainwright.
District Attorneys Ron Reeves of the Tenth Judicial District and Mary Lynne Newell of the Sixth Judicial
District were honored for their long careers in prosecution, in anticipation of their retirements at the end
of this year. DA Reeves will have served approximately 17 years as a prosecutor with 12 of those years
as District Attorney, while DA Newell will have served over 30 years as a prosecutor with 9 of those as
District Attorney. DA Newell is also currently serving as the New Mexico District Attorneys'