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Gov taps Baca for judge post

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By Martin Salazar

Longtime Las Vegas attorney Gerald E. Baca has been chosen to fill the vacant judge post in the 4th Judicial District, the Governor’s Office announced Thursday morning.

Baca, who has been an attorney for more than 26 years, said he would begin his new job on May 13. Between now and then, he will be shutting down his practice and handing his open cases off to other attorneys.

“I’m very honored and pleased with the appointment, and I look forward to working very hard for the people of the 4th Judicial District,” Baca said Thursday morning. “My campaign for election starts today.”

Baca, a Democrat, will need to prevail in the 2014 primary and general elections in order to hang on to the position. He thanked his family, friends and supporters for the help they gave him since he applied for the position and said he looked forward to working with them for the election.

“As someone who has broad experience in the criminal justice process, Mr. Baca is well-qualified to serve on the bench,” Martinez said. “I’m confident that he will continue his strong record of service to New Mexicans and his commitment to upholding the law.”

The 4th Judicial District encompasses the counties of San Miguel, Mora and Guadalupe.

Baca is replacing Eugenio Mathis, who resigned his judicial post in late February amid allegations of wrongdoing.

Baca was one of five people who applied to replace Mathis. The judicial nominating committee interviewed applicants on June 29 and forwarded the names of Baca and local attorney Anna M. Aragon to the governor for consideration. Not recommended for the job were District Attorney Richard Flores and attorney Suzanne Gaulin. A fifth applicant, Floripa Gallegos, withdrew her application.

Baca is currently the sole proprietor of the Law Offices of Gerald E. Baca.

Former Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Baca to what was then a newly created judgeship position in 2007. Baca served as a judge for 16 months but lost the seat to Matt Sandoval during the primary election in June 2008.

He also has previously served as an assistant district attorney for both the 4th and 1st judicial districts.

Baca also has served on the board of directors of both the Sangre De Cristo Sunrise Kiwanis Club of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas-San Miguel Chamber of Commerce. According to the release from the governor’s office, Baca has been an assistant varsity boys’ soccer coach for Robertson High School and continues to officiate amateur sports.

Baca earned his bachelor’s degree from New Mexico Highlands University and later graduated from the UNM School of Law.